Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via your local Jobcentre Plus. It is being rolled out gradually across the UK.
If you are already claiming and in receipt of benefits, you don’t need to do anything – your benefits will continue as usual for the time being.
When will I need to apply for Universal Credit?
Currently, you need to apply if you are:
- Making a new claim and,
- you are single and,
- you don’t have children that you are the main carer for.
Full roll-out of UC for all other people will begin in March 2018 in Leicester – we will keep you posted on this page about this change.
What are the main differences between UC and claiming existing benefits?
Universal Credit replaces:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (income-based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income-related)
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Child and Working Tax Credits.
Making a claim for UC, and how often UC is paid, is different to other benefits.
- You can only claim UC online through the DWP website. It takes about 40 minutes to complete your claim and you cannot save your claim. So be prepared with all your paperwork (income details, bank details, tenancy details etc.).
- Citizens Advice LeicesterShire can help you to make a claim if you need face-to-face support.
- Your UC is paid directly to one person in the household.
- It is paid monthly – instead of weekly – directly into a bank, building society or post office account of your choice (so you have to have one set up before you claim).
- Any help you get to pay your rent will be included with your UC payment, and you will have to pay your landlord yourself.
- If you are likely to struggle with this, ask your work coach about an alternative payment arrangement or complete our personal budget support (PBS) form.
- If you are eligible for UC, you'll usually receive your first payment between five or six weeks after you made your claim.
- You can request a Universal Credit advance payment while you wait for your UC to be assessed. Ask your work coach about this and tell them that you are suffering hardship.
- It is critical that you attend your first work coach meeting and provide all the evidence required. Failure to do so will mean you will have to start the claim process again. You can find out what evidence you need to supply by downloading the UC checklist.
More information can be found in the booklet at the bottom of this page or on the Citizens Advice website.
Who is eligible to apply for Universal Credit?
Change of circumstances
If you want to report any changes in your circumstances regarding your Universal Credit claim call the UC helpline on 0345 600 0723 (Textphone: 0345 600 0743).
Calls can cost 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay). You can call and ask them to call you back.
Leicester City Council offers free phone access to the UC helpline through our customer service centre and multi-service hubs.
Further help and information
You may also find our 'Budgeting and debt advice services booklet' useful, which you can find attached at the bottom of this page.
Are you a landlord with tenants over eight weeks in arrears?
If you are a landlord and your tenant has safeguarding issues or is more than eight weeks in arrears, information on Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA) is available on the central government website.
Advice Agency links:
If you are an Advice Agency and you want to refer your customer for Assisted Digital Support please follow the link below.