No matter what your circumstances, Universal Credit (UC) helps make sure you’re getting all the financial support you’re entitled to in one place, and all the help that’s right for you, whether you are:
It can include financial support for the cost of housing, children and childcare, so if you are eligible, the amount you receive will be customised to your unique personal circumstances.
UC is a benefit for people of working age. It replaced several existing benefits that can be claimed if you’re out of work or if you’re working and living on a low income. UC replaced:
With the help of the Hyde Foundation, we have access to a Universal Credit Helper for our customers.
The helper provides a step-by-step guide for UC claimants, that helps them through the UC application process. Looking to see whether they are eligible for UC through a UC benefits calculator. It also provides advice on the application process for Universal Credit. Find out more about the tool and some more top tips below.
You may be able to get Universal Credit (UC) if:
Please see the Government’s website for more details around claiming UC if you are 16 & 17 years old and If you’re 18 or over and in training or studying full-time.
You cannot claim UC if you either:
If you have a change of circumstances that affects the severe disability premium or your other benefits, report it and you’ll be told what to do next.
If you’re in a couple and one of you is State Pension age, you and your partner can claim Universal Credit as a couple if one of you is under State Pension age and eligible for UC.
When you both reach State Pension age your UC claim will stop.
Please contact us for advice before you make your claim to UC, if one of you are of pension age and one working age.
You need to apply for UC online at: www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
You must apply as a couple if you and your partner live together. You do not need to be married.
The UC team might phone you after you’ve sent your application if they need more information or if you cannot verify your identity online.
You cannot claim UC and Tax Credits at the same time. If you get tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit. Check how tax credits and Universal Credit affect each other.
Contact us if you need help with this information.
You also must verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example your:
Please remember to submit your Universal Credit as soon as possible, only when your claim is submitted does the process start.
Please remember Universal Credit can only be backdated 1 month so please do not delay your claim.
With the help of the Hyde Foundation, we have access to a Universal Credit Helper for our customers.
The helper provides a step-by-step guide for UC claimants, that helps them through the UC application process. Looking to see whether they are eligible for UC through a UC benefits calculator. It also provides advice on the application process for Universal Credit.
MAKE THE CLAIM
If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit (UC) payment, you can apply to get an advance.
The most you can get as an advance is the amount of your first estimated payment.
You can apply for an advance payment in your online account or through your Jobcentre Plus work coach.
You’ll usually find out the same day if you can get an advance.
If you need help applying for an advance payment, call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644.
The Torus Foundation can also help with applications, please contact them directly.
You start paying it back out of your first payment. You can choose how many months you pay the advance back over. You must pay it back within 12 months. You do not pay interest on it - the total amount you pay back is the same.
Find out more about advance payments on the government website.
Your Universal Credit (UC) payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example if you:
Visit the Government website to find out how much you will get.
UC is paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or Credit Union account.
Your payment can include an amount for housing, which you’ll usually need to pay to your landlord.
If you’re not able to open a bank, building society or credit union account, call the UC helpline 0800 328 5644 to arrange a different way of getting paid.
It usually takes around 5 weeks to get your first payment.
If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance.
The wait before your first payment is made up of a one-month assessment period and up to 7 days for the payment to reach your account.
You make a new UC claim on 1 September.
Your first assessment period runs for one month to 30 September, with a new assessment period beginning on 1 October.
You get paid on 7 October and on the 7th of each month after that.
After the first payment, you’ll be paid on the same date of every month.
If your payment date is on a weekend or a bank holiday, you’ll usually be paid on the working day before.
You’ll get a monthly statement that tells you how much Universal Credit you’re going to get.
You can get help paying for your housing if you’re eligible for UC. This is called your housing payment.
Your housing payment can help you pay:
You get the payment, and you usually must pay it to your landlord.
To make a successful claim you will need details of your rent, services charges and landlord. Contact us if you need help with this information.
UC is paid monthly. If your rent is paid weekly, a monthly amount will be calculated by multiplying the weekly rent by the number of weeks your landlord collects the rent, then dividing by 12.
Please remember once you’ve started claiming you will need to report any changes in your circumstances. If you do not, your benefits may stop.
If you’re in supported, sheltered or temporary housing you may be able to apply for UC to help with living costs. Whether it can help with housing costs depends on your accommodation and how it supports you.
You can apply for CU to help with housing costs if both apply:
You cannot get UC to help with housing costs if any of the following apply:
Apply for Housing Benefit instead via your Local authority. Click on the links below:
If you’re behind on your rent, you could have your housing payment sent directly to your landlord. This is called an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
You can apply for an APA through your work coach or case manager. Your landlord can also apply.
If your housing payment does not cover all your rent, you can apply for extra help from your local council - called a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP via your local authority).
Find out more about DHP, including how to apply here.
A non-dependent deduction or ‘Housing Costs contribution’ can be deducted from the Housing Costs element of your Universal Credit (UC claim if you have someone aged 21 or over living with you.
To find out more about reporting change in circumstances how much will be deducted, please click here.
Changes in circumstances should be reported within two weeks of them occurring.
Late reporting of changes may incur a financial penalty from Universal Credit (UC) which is deducted directly from your monthly payment.
You need to report changes to your circumstances, so you keep getting the right amount each month. the earliest you can report a change in your rent in your journal is from the date it takes effect. It cannot be done in advance of the change date.
You must, however, report this change no later than 14 days after it takes effect otherwise you could lose out on benefit you are entitled to.
Your claim might be stopped or reduced if you do not report a change of circumstances straight away.
Changes can include:
You can report a change of circumstances by signing in to your Universal Credit account.
Failure to update your journal with your new housing costs will mean you do not receive the full amount to cover your monthly rent charge. This results in rent arrears and risks possession proceedings commencing.
You are advised each year by letter from Torus about your rent increase and updating your UC Journal.
Find out more about updating your rent amount on your UC Journal here.
When you claim UC you will make an agreement called a ‘Claimant Commitment’ with your work coach.
What you need to do depends on your situation. You might need to do activities such as:
You’ll also need to do things like:
If you’re claiming with your partner, you’ll each have a Claimant Commitment and set of responsibilities.
Visit the Government website to get more information on your responsibilities.
If you do not meet your responsibilities or what you’ve agreed in your Claimant Commitment, your UC could be stopped or reduced. This is called a sanction.
There are different levels of sanctions and they’re decided based on what you did and how often.
You’ll get half a sanction if you apply with a partner and only one of you does not meet their responsibilities.
You can apply for Universal Credit online, via the Gov.uk website, but if you need help with your application, there is plenty of support available.
The CAB ‘Help to Claim advisers can help you with the early stages of your Universal Credit claim. You can talk to them on the phone, online over chat or face-to-face.
The CAB can also provide support to UC claimants up to first payment date, to access an advance payment, if you don't think you'll have enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment.
Find out more about CAB Help to Claim on their website.
You can also access support at your local CAB
If you are experiencing financial pressures and are struggling to pay your rent, please get in touch as soon as possible, as it's better to let us know now. Our Income Services Team will work with you to find a solution that suits your circumstances and helps you keep on top of your rent payments.
Each area has their own team, email yours directly on:
They will respond to your email within 48 hours.
Torus Foundation offer one to one support to find you work and training, give support to claim benefits including Universal Credit, debt advice, help with food vouchers, advice on energy bills, managing your budget and to access affordable loans. Call them free on 0300 123 5809 or email email@example.com, they are here to help you. Find out more here.
You can call the Universal Credit Helpline for more support and advice on 0800 328 5644.
You can also find out more support on the gov.uk website.
If you're worried about falling behind on bills. there are plenty of organisations where you can get advice for free, including:
Money Helper (was The Money Advice Service)
Loads of helpful tips and advice including budget planners and saving money.
Provides free, independent advice on a range of subjects including benefits and debt.
Some great ways to get you Universal Credit ready with help making your claim or getting online.
How to claim Universal Credit step-by-step
Information for Universal Credit claimants