Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs if you are of working age and which is claimed and managed online.
You may qualify for help if you’re on a low income, out of work or you cannot work, and its paid as a monthly lump sum, direct into your bank account.
You will move onto Universal Credit when you experience a change in your circumstances which results in you making a new claim to benefits or tax credits.
The Help To Claim service can assist you with your Universal Credit claim, and our dedicated Money Matters team are here if you need advice.
If you move to Universal Credit, there may be a delay between your old benefit payments ending and Universal Credit payments starting. You may be able to claim an Advance Payment to help you pay your rent and other bills during the transition. This does have to be repaid and will be deducted monthly from your ongoing Universal Credit payments. Jobcentre Plus can offer you more advice about this when you first claim Universal Credit.
If you are entitled to help towards your rent, this will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment, and you will be responsible for paying your rent in line with your rent Payment Plan. If you need help planning your budget, we have lots of useful advice and information for you in our Support & advice section.
Claiming Universal Credit also gives you access to the ‘Help to Save’ scheme, giving you a bonus of 50p for every £1 you save!
It can take up to six weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment, and your rent will still need to be paid during this time. Making small, additional payments into your rent account before you move onto Universal credit will help you prepare. If you start to pay a little more towards your rent now it could make all the difference, and your Housing Executive can help you set up these payments.
The easiest way to pay your rent is by making the switch to direct debit.
You can also pay extra by registering on our customer portal – call 01952 217100 to get set up. Our customer portal can be accessed 24 hours a day via your computer, tablet or smartphone.
Since April 2020, people entitled to Universal Credit received an extra £20 per week – and this will end from October 2021, you can find out more about managing money and support advice in our latest news item.