Universal Credit is a monthly payment designed to help you with your living costs.
It’s possible to receive Universal Credit if you’re not currently in work or you have low income. Your eligibility to claim Universal Credit depends on your location and your current circumstances. Click here to find out if you are eligible.
If you already receive benefits then Universal Credit will replace:
Child Tax Credit
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
Income-related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
Working Tax Credit
You only need five things to apply for Universal Credit:
Once you’ve made your claim, you’ll have to go to the Jobcentre for an interview, agree and sign your ‘claimant commitment’, provide certain documents and discuss whether you’ll need help with budgeting. Please get in touch with us to let us know when your interview is.
After the interview, you’ll know when your Universal Credit Assessment Period is and when your first payment is due. Again, please get in touch with us to let us know where you are up to so we can stay up to date.
What if I can't get online to make a claim?
You should be able to make a claim online from any computer, smartphone or tablet that is connected to the Internet.
If you are unable to access any of these devices you should be able to access a computer at any council offices, Jobcentre, community centre or library.
Can I get help making my claim?
If you need help completing your claim you can:
- Contact your local Jobcentre
- Visit www.universalcreditinfo.net and enter your postcode to see a list of place where you can get help
- Ring the Universal Credit Helpline on 0345 600 0723 (please be aware that call charges apply, so ask the DWP to call you back – this will be on a withheld number)
- Get in touch with us and we can help guide you through your claim
When will I be paid?
When you make a new claim for Universal Credit, you will have to wait seven days before the claim starts then, a calendar month before your entitlement is assessed then, up to seven days for your payment to be processed. After that, you will then be paid monthly. If you’re used to working out your budget weekly or fortnightly then you’ll need to think about how you’ll manage your money for a whole month. Please make sure to prioritise your rent payments.
You may ask for an advance payment if you know your finances will be hard to manage over the waiting period.
How is Universal Credit paid to claimants?
In the majority of cases, Universal Credit consists of a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears directly into the claimant’s account.
Couples living in the same household receive one monthly payment between them. Payments include eligible housing costs and households are responsible for managing their own rent payments.
How does working affect Universal Credit?
You can work as many hours as you like when you’re on Universal Credit. There are no limits as there are with existing benefits such as Income Support or Working Tax Credits. If you’re in paid work you might be entitled to a work allowance.
What is the work allowance?
The work allowance is the amount of money you’re allowed to earn before your Universal Credit payment is affected. You will be entitled to a work allowance if you’re:
- Responsible for dependent children, and/or
- You can’t work as much because of illness or disability
If you’re entitled to the work allowance, you can earn up to the threshold for your circumstances. Your Universal Credit payment will then go down by 63p for every £1 you earn above this amount. This is called the earnings taper. If you don’t qualify for the work allowance, your Universal Credit payment will go down by 63p for every £1 on all your earnings.
Employer-paid benefits, such as Statutory Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Sick Pay are treated as earnings and are affected by the taper.