Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment that may support you with housing or living costs, if you are on a low income or out of work.

In some circumstances, it can be paid to you fortnightly.

Universal Credit replaced several benefits, including Housing Benefit. You can now only make a claim for Housing Benefit if you have reached state pension age, or you live in some types of supported accommodation.

Please be aware that if you currently receive Housing Benefit, and your circumstances change in certain ways, you may have to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Find out more about the move to Universal Credit

Learn more about Housing Benefit eligibility criteria

If you receive the housing cost element of Universal Credit, this will be paid directly to you. You are responsible for using your Universal Credit payment to pay your rent.

In some circumstances, you or we may request that your Universal Credit payment is paid directly to us. If you would like to learn more about this, please speak with your rent officer.

Apply for Universal Credit

You can apply to receive Universal Credit online:

Apply for Universal Credit

When you apply, you will create an online account. After you apply, you may have to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Please note:

  • You usually need to be aged 18 or over to apply
  • Young people, students and non-UK residents are not usually able to apply
  • You are able to apply as a single person, or as a couple
  • If both you and your partner are over the state pension age, you will need to apply for Pension Credit instead
  • If you are of working age but out of work, and your partner is over the state pension age, you may receive £100 less per week. You will need to apply for Universal Credit, not Pension Credit

If your application is successful, you will receive your first payment after six weeks. You will then usually receive a payment every month - you will need a bank account, a Post Office account or Credit Union account.

Changes to your circumstances

If you need to report a change of circumstances, you can do this by logging in to your online account. This account will have been created when you applied for Universal Credit for the first time.

If there is a change in your circumstances that may affect how much you receive, you must notify the Department for Work and Pensions via your online account. If you do not notify them without good reason, you might be fined £50.

If you are a Council tenant, it is your responsibility to update your account when there are any changes in the amount of rent you pay. This should be done on the day that the changes come into effect - and not before.

Money Manager for Universal Credit claimants

Money Helper have created a Money Manager tool that helps:

  • new Universal Credit claimants, or claimants who have moved from another benefit
  • new Universal Credit claimants budget before receiving a payment for the first time
  • existing Universal Credit claimants budget each month

Access Money Manager