Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living cost and it will replace:
- Housing Benefit
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
If you currently get any of these benefits, you do not need to do anything unless:
- you have a change of circumstances you need to report
- the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit
If you get tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit- if you are worried about this contact the Citizens Advice who can help you understand whether this will impact your overall income.
What you need to do
If you need help making your claim get in touch with us, or the Citizens Advice.
- Make sure you’ve got access to a computer or smartphone
- Set up a bank account if you don’t already have one – let us know if you need help with this
- Start thinking about how you will budget monthly
- Follow a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Universal credit.
- Use our budgeting and benefits calculator to work out how much you may be entitled to and send us your report.
Ensure you`re paying your rent at least one week ahead as per your tenancy agreement. Try and save so that should you need to make a claim for Universal credit you have money to cover your rent, food, and other essential costs. There are opportunities to open a savings account quickly and easily at your local Credit Union. You can find a local credit union by simply going online and entering your postcode.
What you’ll get
Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example, if you:
- have children
- have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
- need help paying your rent
How much Universal Credit you get will depend on your circumstances and your earnings
How it may affect you
- You’ll need to apply for and manage your Universal Credit (UC) claim online
- You’ll no longer receive benefits on different days. You’ll receive one larger payment, paid directly into your bank account once a month
- This one payment will include the amount for your rent, and this is known as ‘Housing costs’, you’ll need to pay this to us directly. If you previously received Housing Benefit your rent will no longer be paid directly to us. Setting up a Direct Debit is easiest.
- If you’re a couple living together and both of you are claiming UC, you’ll generally receive one joint monthly payment
- UC is paid in arrears. That means it takes a minimum of 5 weeks before you receive your first payment, so you’ll need to have some savings to get you by while you’re waiting. If you think you’ll struggle during this time or if you’re already behind with your rent please contact us now or talk to your work coach at the Job Centre about the options available to you.
When will this happen?
If you receive any of the benefits that have been replaced by Universal Credit and your circumstances change (such as a change in wages, a partner moving in, a child born moving home, etc. you’ll be moved onto UC.
What should I expect from settle once I’ve made my Universal credit claim
The Department of Work and Pensions will ask us to verify the housing costs you set out in your claim form. At settle we have a dedicated member of the income team who will do this. They will then contact you either by phone or email to talk through the changes you may be experiencing with your finances. This is because we want to ensure you understand the claim process and the possible impact your new claim may have on paying your rent. We`ll explain our approach to arrears during this period and talk to you about opportunities you might want to consider to get some advice or support if you need it.