What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new simpler single monthly payment for people of working age in or out of work. UC will replace:
- income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income Support
- Housing benefit
There are a small number of people who will not have their housing costs paid as part of their Universal Credit and will continue to receive help towards their rent from the local authority, for example:
- If you have been placed into temporary accommodation by our housing team under housing homeless or homeless prevention legislation
- If you are living in supported accommodation and receive care support or supervision from your landlord or by an organisation on your landlords’ behalf.
- If you are responsible for three or more children (this exception only applies until February 2019).
On this page
What is different about Universal Credit?
The Government's aim is that by 2022, housing benefit for private and social tenants will no longer be dealt with by councils but will be part of Universal Credit (UC) that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be dealing with.
Payments will be made direct to the claimant in a single monthly payment. The aim is to incentivise work and ensure claimants are always better off in work. If you get housing benefit now and this is paid direct to your landlord, this will be included in your UC payment so you will have to take responsibility and ensure you pay your rent in full and on time.
You will need to have a bank account for your Universal Credit payment to be made. Guidance on basic bank accounts can be found below:
How to claim
You will be expected to make your Universal Credit (UC) claim online by visiting the GOV UK website.
Anyone claiming UC will have to sign a claimant commitment. This will ensure claimants look for at least 35 hours of work a week, depending on their circumstances.
If you need help or support claiming online there are places in the community you can go to access the internet for free and get support. View our 'How to get online' leaflet to find out what's on offer.
Universal Support - Budgeting
Universal Support - Budgeting is a new service which will support you to manage your money when you claim UC. It is available to anyone who is claiming UC and offers a tailored one-to-one service to help you manage your finances, maximise your income, and access other support. It offers:
- A 'Universal Credit MOT' - we will check that you are getting what you are entitled to, explain how your UC claim is made up and give advice on issues with your claim.
- If you are waiting for your first payment, we can estimate how much it will be and advise you on advance payments and other available support while you are waiting.
- Support and advice about the benefit cap, bedroom tax and local housing allowance shortfalls, and help to make a claim for discretionary housing payment.
- Help to make a budgeting plan and find ways of maximising income.
- Advice and support with council tax arrears and council tax reduction claims – including liaising with our Revenues team to help resolve council tax issues.
- Advice and support with rent arrears – including liaising with landlords to help resolve rent arrears issues.
- Support with finding work.
- Advice about gas, electricity and water bills, including energy efficiency options.
- Referrals to specialist debt, energy efficiency and housing advice services.
- Help with applications for alternative payment arrangements, including housing costs paid direct to your landlord.
How to get help
You can ask your work coach at Jobcentre Plus to refer you to us for budgeting support or you can ask us for help directly by completing our self-referral form. Once we receive your referral form, we will contact you within five working days.
Universal Support - Digital
Universal Support – Digital is a new service which can support you to make a new claim for UC by offering the following:
- Public access computers available if you need computer access and are generally able to make and manage an online claim, but may need occasional support.
- Appointments for one-to-one support – if you don’t have the computer skills needed to make an online claim.
- Calling the UC helpline to arrange your first appointment with a work coach.
- Advice about how to maintain a digital claim.
- Digital access advice about where you can go to get online in Basingstoke.
- Information and advice about the next steps you need to take to complete a successful UC claim.
- Advice about claiming council tax reduction, if appropriate
How to get help
You can ask your work coach at Jobcentre Plus to refer you to us for digital support or you can ask us for help directly by completing our self-referral form. Once we receive your referral form, we will contact you within five working days.
Welfare Support Officer - Benefits team
If you have a general enquiry about Universal Credit, send a message to the Benefits Team