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Home > Housing > Money advice and support > Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age which is designed to top up your income to a minimum level. It will replace benefits for people who are out of work and tax credits for people in work.

 

Why is it being introduced?

Universal Credit has been introduced to simplify the benefits system and improve work incentives. The government introduced Universal Credit in 2013.

 

How does it work?

Providing your income and savings don’t go above certain limits you can carry on claiming Universal Credit if you are working or out of work.

Universal Credit may help you if you are on a low income or if you move in and out of work as your benefit will not stop and start every time this happens.

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Budgeting loans and crises loans

 

What will happen to Housing Benefit when Universal Credit comes in?

Housing Benefit will not exist when Universal Credit comes in.

Any benefit you receive towards housing costs will be paid as part of your Universal Credit payment.

The housing element of Universal Credit will not be paid directly to us therefore it will be your responsibility to pay your rent from your payment.

There may be some circumstances when rent payments can be paid directly to us instead.

 

How do you claim Universal Credit?

You will usually have to be aged 18 or over to make a claim for Universal Credit. Young people under 18, students and people from abroad or not usually resident in the UK will not usually be able to claim, but there will be some exceptions.

You won’t be able to claim Universal Credit if both you and your partner are over pension credit age, you’ll have to claim pension credit instead.

You will be able to claim as a single person or as a couple.

If you are part of a couple where one of you is of working age and the other is of pension credit age, you could receive £100 less a week if the younger partner is not working and has to claim Universal Credit rather than Pension Credit.

You will need to claim for Universal Credit online and you will need to advise of changes or circumstances online too.

 

How do I apply for Universal Credit?

You can apply for Universal Credit online.

You might also need to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus. You’ll be told if you need to after you apply.

You’ll get your first payment around 6 weeks after applying online if your application is successful.

 

 

A map showing free Wi-Fi and public computer locations across Babergh and Mid Suffolk:

 

Apply for Universal Credit

 

How will Universal Credit be paid?

Benefit payments are currently paid every fortnight or sometimes every week. Under Universal Credit, payments will usually be paid every month.

In order to receive Universal Credit you will need a bank account, post office account or Credit Union account for the benefit to be paid into.

 

What will happen if you don’t notify of changes in circumstances?

You have a duty to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of changes in circumstances that will affect your benefit. If you don’t notify them without good reason you could be fined £50.

 

How can you get ready for Universal Credit?

The Money Advice Service’s Online Money Manager is an interactive tool that offers personalised advice, on making the most of your money while you’re on Universal Credit. It offers help and advice on a range of money topics, including opening a bank account, keeping on top of bills and dealing with debt.

Access the Online Money Manager