What’s Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new benefit, which will replace Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Job Seeker’s Allowance (Income Based), Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. It’s now live across the country for single people who would normally be making a new claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
The government’s now starting to roll out the full, digital Universal Credit service to working age people. This means that all new claims in those areas, for any of the benefits listed above, will be made for Universal Credit instead. Major changes of circumstances will also trigger a claim for Universal Credit. However, people already claiming benefits won’t have to move onto Universal Credit until they’re asked to, unless they have a major change of circumstances. Please seek advice first.
When is it live in my area?
The full service goes live on the following dates:
- February 2017 - Southampton and some parts of the New Forest
- July 2017 - Eastleigh
- December 2017 – West Berkshire
- May 2018 - Basingstoke
- July 2018 - Winchester, Test Valley
- September 2018 - Portsmouth, Cosham, Ringwood, Lymington
- October 2018 - Aldershot, Bordon, Farnborough, Guildford, East Hampshire, Rushmoor, Hart, Waverley
- November 2018 - Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Petersfield, Surrey Heath.
Key information about Universal Credit
- You'll be paid once a month into your bank. This includes your rent money - you'll need a bank account and have to make arrangements to pay all of your rent. Go to our 'rent payment' page for the easiest ways to pay your rent.
- You’ll have to wait 1 month 7 days for your first payment - and most of your benefits being replaced will stop immediately (apart from Housing Benefit which will run for a further two weeks). You can apply for an advance, but you have to pay this back over a 12 month period - phone 03456 004272 to apply.
- You need to apply and manage your claim online - contact us if you need help with the application or need support to improve your digital skills.
- Remember to claim Council Tax Support - this isn't included in your Universal Credit payment. Claim through your council if you're eligible.
- Are you Pension Credit age? If you are part of a couple and one of you is of Pension age, you might be better off claiming Pension Credit instead of Universal Credit. If you’re unsure, get in touch.
- To find out more, please visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit and www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk. or you can read our useful digital Universal Credit leaflet (PDF 578kb).
How to prepare for making a Universal Credit claim
Before making a claim for Universal Credit, we’d recommend gathering the following information to make the online claim process easier. You’ll need to be able answer the following questions:
- What is you housing situation? (You’re renting from and paying rent to a Housing Association/ Social Landlord)
- When did you move into this address?
- How much is your rent?
- How much are you service charges (eligible for Universal Credit)?
- How often do you pay your rent?
- Have you got any rent clear weeks?
- What is your landlord’s address? (VIVID, Peninsular House, Wharf Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO2 8HB)
During the application you’ll have to verify your identity online. We’d encourage that you try to register as soon as possible – here’s a link to the government verification page.
If you’re unable to verify, you’ll need to make sure you have the correct documents for when you need to make a claim for Universal Credit. Watch this helpful Universal Credit YouTube video for a list of documents that you’ll need.
Giving you the support you need
We're here to help, so if you need any support or have any questions please get in touch.