Tracking pixel

Universal Credit

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:

  • in work
  • wanting to increase your earnings
  • looking for a job
  • unable to work at the moment

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: 

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Income-based job seekers allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Find out more on the website

Universal Credit (UC) Helper Tool for claimants

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.

Universal Credit (UC) helper tool

Should you need any assistance, please get in touch

You may be able to get Universal Credit (UC) if:

  • You’re on a low income or out of work.
  • You’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17).
  • You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is).
  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you.
  • You live in the UK.
  • Your partner’s income and savings will be considered, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.

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.

Severe disability premium

You cannot claim UC if you either:

  • Get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it.
  • Get or were entitled to the severe disability premium in the last month, and you’re still eligible for it.

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.

Mixed age couples

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.

You may be able to apply for Pension Credit or other benefits as a couple when your Universal Credit stops. Ask your Jobcentre Plus work coach what else you could be eligible for. 

Please contact us for advice before you make your claim to UC, if one of you are of pension age and one working age.

Find out more about Pension Credit

You need to apply for UC online at:

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.

Before you apply, you’ll need:

  • Your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the UC helpline 0800 328 5644 if you do not have one).
  • An email address.
  • Information about your housing,[ ] for example how much rent you pay.
  • Details of your income, for example pay-slips.
  • Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out.
  • Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs.
  • If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might delay/affect when you get paid or how much you get.

You will also need to know:

  • Your landlord details
  • Details of your rent and service charges
  • The date your tenancy started and your postcode

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:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • debit or credit card

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.

Universal Credit (UC) helper tool

Should you need any assistance, please get in touch

In addition to the tool, we have these additional tips:


  • Linking code: Only one partner needs to request the linking code, which the other partner can - rhey then give this to the other partner to input into the claim


  • Things you’ll need – also your National Insurance number 
  • Under details of house - need to add Household composition – details of who lives with you in your house
  • TOP TIP: Once claim made you have access to the UC dashboard which consists of three areas:  
  1. Home Page: this is for making changes to your account
  2. To Do List: this needs to be checked daily and shows any actions you need to complete,
  3. Journal: this is for sending messages.  Select ‘payments’ for queries about your payments, dates paid, questions on how to make changes.  Select ‘work coach’ for questions about work, appointments and job searches.


  • How long – 30 mins
  • TOP TIP: Government Gateway Account if you don’t have one you can make one if you have the correct documents – can take another 10 minutes.


  • You do not call to arrange an interview.
  • You need to check your to do list and most interviews will be booked for you by a work coach and the time and date will be on your to do list.  This will also include the documents you need to bring in with you.  The address of the jobcentre will also be in the to do list. Most first appointments are face to face and will be roughly an hour.
  • If you have not had an appointment booked within a week of making the claim, then call 0800 328 5644.
  • Take all the documents into the job centre with you – ID documents, fit notes etc.

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 need to:

  • explain why you need an advance
  • verify your identity (you’ll do this when you apply online or on the phone with a work coach)
  • provide bank account details for the advance (talk to your work coach if you cannot open an account).

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.


  • Your first estimated payment is £256.05, and you get £256.05 as an advance.
  • You choose to pay back your advance over 12 months, which is £21.33 per month. You’ll get £234.72 on your first payment date - this is your first payment minus the bit you’re repaying (£256.05 minus £21.33).

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: 

  • are single or part of a couple
  • have children
  • have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
  • need help paying your rent

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.

Your first payment

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.

Payment dates

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.

Find out more about how you are paid on the Government website.

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.

Visit the Government website for more details on renting.

Visit the Government website for more details on Housing Costs and UC.

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 live in supported or sheltered housing.
  • You’re not getting ‘care, support or supervision’ through your housing.

You cannot get UC to help with housing costs if any of the following apply:

  • You’re living in supported or sheltered housing (such as a hostel) which provides you with ‘care, support or supervision’.
  • You’re living in temporary accommodation, such as a B&B arranged by your council.
  • You’re living in a refuge for survivors of domestic abuse.

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:

  • finding or finishing a job
  • having a child
  • moving in with your partner
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • moving to a new address
  • changing your bank details
  • your rent going up or down
  • changes to your health condition
  • becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach
  • changes to your earnings (only if you’re self-employed)

How to report

You can report a change of circumstances by signing in to your Universal Credit account.

Annual rent cost changes

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:

  • write a CV
  • look and apply for jobs
  • go on training courses

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 appeal a sanction if you think it’s wrong. Citizens Advice can help with challenging a sanction.

You can apply for Universal Credit online, via the website, but if you need help with your application, there is plenty of support available.

Support from Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)

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

  • Liverpool has six CAB sites across Liverpool. Find out more on their website. You can call them on call 0808 278 7840 or WhatsApp/Text 07468 533 492.
  • You can find the Warrington CAB at The Gateway, 89 Sankey St, Warrington, WA1 1SR or call them on 0300 330 9091.
  • You can find the St Helens CAB at Millennium Centre, Corporation St, WA10 1HJ or call them on 01744 737866.

Support from Torus

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, they are here to help you.  Find out more here.

Find out more about support from Torus here

UC Helpline

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 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.

Citizens Advice

Provides free, independent advice on a range of subjects including benefits and debt.

Learn My Way

Some great ways to get you Universal Credit ready with help making your claim or getting online. Claiming UC Step-by Step information

How to claim Universal Credit step-by-step UC Claimants Information

Information for Universal Credit claimants