First introduced in February 2015 and rolled out across the country gradually, this brings together a number of different benefits into a single payment. The benefits that have been combined are:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credits
- Child benefit/tax credits
- Housing benefit
Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears directly into your bank or building society account, so you should budget for your money to last the whole month.
Once you start to claim Universal Credit, we will no longer receive housing benefit directly from the local authority on your behalf. You will be responsible for paying your rent and service charges to us. Your tenancy agreement says that you have to pay your rent in advance and once you are transferred to Universal Credit, you will need to make sure that it is paid on time.
Universal Credit can only be claimed via the internet and you are expected to manage your claim through an online account. Claims will be administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) at a central location rather than by your local council, Job Centre Plus, or benefits agency.
If you are single, of working age (not in receipt of state pension), and need to make a new claim for Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance from February 2015, you will only be able to claim Universal Credit instead.
Watch this video on how to claim Universal Credit and then make your claim here.
You can download our pocket guide to Universal Credit here:
Our staff have been trained to understand the changes and how they will affect you, and can help you to:
- claim Universal Credit via the internet
- budget with your monthly payment and paying your rent
- open a bank account
- save for the changes in case you need to make a claim in the future
- contact your other creditors to agree affordable repayments for you
Please remember that when you are asked "Do you pay rent for the home where you live?" you MUST answer "Yes" if your rent is currently covered by Housing Benefit. If you fail to do so, your claim will NOT include a rent element and any subsequent appeal may not necessarily mean that the rent element is backdated to the date of your initial claim.
To help you understand all the changes, we have produced a Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet, which you can download here:
From 15 February 2016 Universal Credit has been introduced in all the local authority areas in which we have homes.
Click here to find more helpful advice on the Money Advice Service website.
If you have any further questions, please call us on 0300 123 6000.