Universal Credit

What is it?

Universal Credit (UC) is a monthly payment for people of working age to help with your living costs if you're on a low income or out of work.

It's being introduced gradually as part of the government's welfare reform and will replace six 'means tested' benefits: Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers and Employment Support Allowances and Working Tax Credit.

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you can't claim Universal Credit at the same time. The Department for Work and Pensions will let you know when you'll be moving to Universal Credit.

New benefit claimants

If you're thinking of claiming benefits for the first time, you might need to apply for Universal Credit, depending on your circumstances and where you live:

  • If you live in a L20 postcode, have less than three children or don't live in supported accommodation, you should make a claim for Universal Credit to help with your housing costs. 
  • If you live in a L20 postcode, have three or more children or live in supported accommodation, you should make a claim for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support, as Universal Credit is not yet available to you.
  • If you live elsewhere in Liverpool, you could still apply for Universal Credit if you're single and of working age. By single we mean you're not making a claim as part of a couple and have no dependent children to include on your claim.
Remember, if you make a claim for Universal Credit you must still claim separately for Council Tax Support and Free School Meals as this is not included in your Universal Credit payment.

If you're not sure whether you should be claiming Universal Credit or existing benefits, use the UC postcode checker to see which elements have been rolled out in your area:

Universal Credit postcode checker

How to claim

Claim online via the Universal Credit Portal

Need help and support with your claim?

Your local job centre will be able to advise you on Universal Credit, payments and budgeting support.  If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.

If you need financial help before your UC payment is due and meet certain conditions, you can ask for an advanced payment. Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance.

Universal Credit Helpline: 0345 600 0723

Managing your money

The Money Advice Service has a useful money manager tool for Universal Credit claimants to help your money go further, and advice such as opening the right bank account to keeping on top of bills.

Accessing the internet

Don't have access?

If you don't have internet access at home you can get free access at these venues.

Take with you:

  • your National Insurance number
  • details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
  • your tenancy agreement if you have one
  • details of your savings or other capital
  • details of any income that's not from work (an insurance plan for example)
  • details of any other benefits you're getting

Remember, you might also need these details for your partner and other people who live in your home.

Never used the internet before?

If you don't know how to use the internet or need extra support to get online there are advisors on hand at these venues.

Come2gether logo