Universal Credit (UC) is one benefit designed to replace 6 benefits with a single monthly payment if you're out of work or on a low income or need to claim help with your rent.
Universal Credit replaces housing benefit, income support, job-seeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, child tax credits and working tax credits (NB. this does not include contribution-based JSA and ESA). Instead of receiving different benefits you'll receive just one monthly payment to cover all of them. It will be paid into your bank or building society once a month.
When it comes to your rent, this is included in your Universal Credit payment. Currently, the government may pay housing benefit rent directly to your landlord – be it a private landlord, a housing association or the council - but if you’re moved on to Universal Credit you need to flag up to them that you want your rent paid to your landlord, otherwise it will be up to you to manage your monthly finances and ensure that you pay your rent to them on time. For some people this will be a big change.
The DWP has launched a new service that will give extra support to customers making their Universal Credit claims.
They have joined forces with Citizens Advice to make sure Universal Credit (UC) customers, particularly the most vulnerable, can access the help they need when making a claim.
The new service, called Help to Claim, provides UC customers with tailored, practical support at every step of their claim until they receive their first payment. This includes help with setting up an email address or a UC account, verifying their identity, accessing DWP home visit support or preparing for their first payment. Support from the Citizens Advice team of experienced advisers is available and allows customers to choose how they access the help they need.
Citizens Advice will also refer customers to other support where needed, including money guidance and debt advice.
Does it affect me?
If you’re a new benefit claimant you’re likely to receive Universal Credit.
If you're already claiming benefits, you're unlikely to be affected unless your circumstances change.
If you’re a pensioner you won’t be affected - you’ll carry on receiving existing benefits as normal.
How to make a claim
Find out everything you need to know about Universal Credit and how to claim online at GOV.UK. You will need access to the internet to check any emails and to be able to log into your account. If you have no access to the internet phone the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644.
If you are a landlord, there is more information about Universal Credit full service and what it means for you at Universal Credit and rented housing.
You can also watch a short video below, which guides you through the process.
Universal Credit frequently asked questions
Key Universal Credit FAQs.
Universal Credit for landlords
This page is dedicated to information for landlords.