Universal Credit

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

It is paid by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), not the council, and replaces these existing benefits and credits into a single monthly payment:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-based Employment Support Allowances
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

It is a big change from any benefits or tax credits you may get now, and you will need to be ready to manage your claim differently. 

If you are on an existing benefit the DWP will tell you when you need to transfer to Universal Credit.

Can I claim?

The rules for getting Universal Credit depend on your circumstances and where you live – use the Citizens Advice eligibility checker to find out if you should apply for Universal Credit or existing benefits.

You can get Universal Credit if:

  • you are claiming benefits for the first time
  • you have a change of circumstances that affects your current benefits

However, if you have three or more children, live in supported accommodation or are of Pension Credit age, you can still claim existing benefits until the Universal Credit full service is available.

Remember to claim Council Tax Support and free school meals separately, as these are not included in Universal Credit payments.

Things you need to do before you apply

Universal Credit is an online service so you will need access to a computer and the internet. There are a number of digital hubs across the city which can help you get online.

You’ll also need to:

Find out how ready you are before you make a claim.

You can get help with any of the above at your local Jobcentre Plus and Citizens Advice.

Take a look at the Citizens Advice 4 step guide to getting Universal Credit.

How to apply

Apply online via the UC portal

What happens next?

You’ll need to arrange an assessment interview at your local Jobcentre within seven days of applying online. You will be told how to do this when you submit your application.

When will I be paid?

It can take up to six weeks for your first payment to reach your account. If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.

If you don’t have enough money to live on whilst you wait for your first payment, you can log into your account and request an advance payment.

If this is not your first payment you will need to call the helpline to request an advance.

The advance can be up to the same amount you would get for your first payment and you will need to pay it back out of future payments, normally over 12 months.

Help and support

Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 (Freephone)

Get advice and support about Universal Credit: