Universal Credit (UC) applies in every local authority area where we have homes. It brings together the following benefits into a single payment:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credits
- Child benefit/tax credits
- Housing benefit
If you are claiming UC then you MUST also claim council tax support directly from your local authority otherwise you may fall behind with your payments.
Historically, housing benefit and council tax support were claimed together on the same form, but now UC (which contains a housing element) is claimed online from the Department of Work and Pensions, and council tax support from you local authority on a separate form.
UC 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 UC, 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 UC, you will need to make sure that it is paid on time.
UC 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, you will only be able to claim UC.
If you or anyone in your household is of working age and needs to make a new claim for any of the above benefits, or has a change of circumstances, and lives in Daventry, Melton, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Erewash, Rutland or South Kesteven you will be moved over to the full digital UC service. This will eventually be rolled out across the country.
UC is going live in Chesterfield on 29 November.
If you have three or more children dependent children you will still need to make a claim for Housing Benefit.
You can find more helpful advice on the Money Advice Service website.
If you have any further questions, please call us on 0300 123 6000.
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:
Watch this video on how to claim UC and then make your claim.