Universal Credit

Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit replaces a number of benefits, including Housing Benefit, with one single monthly payment for your household. This means a big change in the way benefits are paid.

Universal Credit will replace the following payments:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit is available to single people nationally and to couples/families in some areas of the country.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and whether you can claim will depend on your personal circumstances and where you live.


You can apply for Universal Credit online via the Gov.uk website.


You can also watch a video about how to claim.

You might need to attend an interview at your local JobcentrePlus but you’ll find out about this after you’ve applied.

You’ll be paid some or all of the money for your rent every month, rather than it coming directly to us in the form of Housing Benefit. You’ll need to then pay your rent to us on time to avoid going into arrears. There are several ways you can pay.

It usually takes five to six weeks for you to get your first payment, so you’ll need to make sure you have money in place to manage the transition period, or arrange for extra support during this time. Download our ‘Do you need help with Universal Credit?’ fact sheet to find out the options available.

  • Set up a bank account if you haven’t got one already. Universal Credit will be paid into this. Even if you have a poor credit record, you should be able to do this as long as you can show some ID. With a basic bank account you’ll get a debit card and be able to pay your rent and other bills by direct debit.
  • You’ll also need an email address before you can make your claim. If you don’t already use email, it’s easy to set up an account online.
  • Make sure you’ll be able to access and use your online Universal Credit account. This might be at your local library or Sovereign office, or you can find about more about getting internet access and discounted IT equipment.
  • Plan your budget and arrange extra support if you’ll need it before your first Universal Credit payment arrives. Our handy budget planner and fact sheet will help you to work out your spending and set yourself targets if you need to cut down in a particular area.
  • Set up a direct debit for your rent or a reminder to pay it in advance once Housing Benefit is no longer paid directly to us.
  • Read this useful introduction to Universal Credit by the Independent Money Advice Service. 

If you think you’ll struggle to manage financially, please contact us. Our teams of income officers are ready to help you.

If you'd prefer to speak to one of our Tenancy Support Advisors, please complete the short form using the request help button below. 

Request help

Citizens Advice are now also offering a 'Help to claim' service which gives support in the early stages of Universal Credit. Get in touch with the 'Help to claim' service.

  • If you need an overview of Universal Credit, the government website has lots more information.
  • The Department of Work and Pensions has a comprehensive guide to Universal Credit and a dedicated website which helps people find out which benefits they should be claiming and how UC can help them move into, or progress in work.

  • Universal Credit will be paid into your bank account monthly. You’ll then need to pay your rent to us from this amount.

  • Universal Credit is designed to help individuals and families on low income find a job or increase their hours. We’ve helped many residents achieve their work goals and we can help you do the same. Get in touch with our Employment and Training team to find out more.