Universal Credit is a new single payment introduced by the government for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It replaces a number of other benefits. the government call 'legacy benefits' including:
Universal Credit payments are paid directly to you into your bank account each month. It usually takes around six weeks before the first payment of Universal Credit is received.
If you are due for help with your rent, your payment will include a “Housing Costs Element”. You are responsible for using this money to pay your rent to your landlord. The easiest way to do this is to set up a direct debit or standing order, which will automatically transfer your rental payment on a set date each month. You can do this here
If you live in County Durham you will claim Universal Credit if you:
There are lots of different changes of circumstances that might mean you need to claim Universal Credit. Some of these could be:
If you already receive one of the benefits that Universal Credit is due to replace, and you have no changes in circumstances, continue as normal until the Department for Work and Pensions tell you that you need to claim Universal Credit instead.
You can ring the Universal Credit helpline for more information on 0800 3289344 or click here
If you are of pensionable age you cannot usually claim Universal Credit and will continue to receive your benefits in the normal way.
You are normally expected to claim Universal Credit through the government website here
You can find local organisations who can help you get online or apply for Universal Credit here
To claim Universal Credit you must have a bank account so your benefit payments can be paid to you. You can only apply for Universal Credit online so you must have access to the internet and basic digital skills to complete your application form.
There are a number of things you can do now to start preparing for Universal Credit
If you are struggling to pay your rent please let us know - our Financial Wellbeing Advisers will work with you to help you get back on track. If you need benefits or debt advice our staff will assist you with this.
You can make claiming Universal Credit quicker and easier by having all the information you will need ready beforehand. This should include: