Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age. It combines support for adults, children, and housing costs into one benefit.
Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears and replaces:
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Other support available:
- If you pay Council Tax and want to claim help with this you should make a claim with the Council.
- If you have reached Pension Credit age and you are single you should claim Housing Benefit for help with your rent.
- If you live with a partner and you have both reached Pension Credit age you should claim Housing Benefit for help with you rent.
- However, if you live with a partner and one of you has not reached Pension Credit age you will need to claim Universal Credit unless you fall into one of the groups that do not need to claim Universal Credit. These are detailed in the next section.
What should I claim - Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?
You will need to claim Universal Credit to help with your housing costs, unless:
- you are part of a couple and one of you has not reached Pension Credit age
- you live in temporary accommodation
- you live in accommodation where your landlord provides support - this does not include sheltered schemes owned by the Council.
What happens if I am already receiving Housing Benefit?
You do not need to do anything if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit.
If your entitlement to Housing Benefit ends and you have to make a new claim, you will need to claim Universal Credit. This includes if you move outside of the district and your new address falls under a Universal Credit area.
What do I need to do to make sure that I am prepared?
At the current time you will only need to claim Universal Credit if you need to make a new claim for any of the benefit it replaces. However, the following are steps that will help your prepare if you need to make a claim.
Access to the internet
Universal Credit is claimed and managed online. There is no paper form and everything is always done online. If you have a smartphone you will be able to manage your account using this.
A bank account
You will need a transactional bank account in order to receive your Universal Credit. There is further information on bank accounts for benefit payments on the money advice service website.
Universal Credit is paid monthly, so you must make sure you budget your money so that it lasts for the whole month. If you feel you would benefit from some budgeting advice please contact the Citizens Advice. If you are getting Universal Credit you can ask your work coach to refer you for budgeting support.
Use Direct Debit or Standing Order. Universal Credit pays your housing costs (rent) directly to you as part of your Universal Credit. This means that you are responsible for paying that money to your landlord. Setting up a direct debit or standing order to pay your rent is the best way to make sure it is paid on time.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
- You can make an application online on the Universal Credit website.
- If you do not have reliable online access, you will need to go to your local library, Citizens Advice office or visit our offices in Cambourne.
- There is a Universal Credit helpline which is available. You should contact the helpline if you have any questions or your circumstances change and you're already getting Universal Credit.
- The Universal Credit telephone helpline number is 0800 328 5644. You can call this number if you do not have reliable online access during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How do I find out more about Universal Credit?
Local Council Tax Support help to pay your Council Tax is still administered by the Council and is not part of Universal Credit.
Therefore you need to make an application to the Council even if you receive Universal Credit.
Universal Credit and Landlords
The DWP has issued guidance for landlords whose tenants receive Universal Credit.