What is it?
Universal credit has been introduced to Croydon and has replaced housing benefit in certain circumstances and a range of benefits for working age people. Whether you claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit will depend on your postcode and your personal circumstances. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for administering Universal Credit.
With effect from 6 April 2017 families with three children or more will no longer be able to make a new claim for Universal Credit and will have to make a claim for Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. This change affects families making a new claim for Universal Credit.
If you are already in receipt of Universal Credit and have three or more children you will continue to claim Universal Credit. If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and have three or more children you will continue to remain on Housing Benefit.
Please select this link to apply for tax credits: https://www.gov.uk/claim-tax-credits/how-to-claim
What triggers a Universal Credit claim?
How will I claim it?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are responsible for administering Universal Credit. You need to complete this online form to claim Universal Credit:
You will manage your account online (a bit like online banking) and you will need to report any changes in circumstances through your account.
You must claim Universal Credit as soon as you think you may have an entitlement. Your claim will only be backdated in exceptional circumstances and will only go back one month.
Before you claim
Before you start you should make sure you have the following information:
- Your (and your partner's) National Insurance number
- Your postcode
- Your landlord's name and address
- If you live in a council or housing association, you will need to provide your 'eligible' rent. This means your rent but not including any service charges that you may need to pay separately (for example water rates). You need to make sure that you give the correct rent to the DWP otherwise you will not get paid the right amount of Universal Credit. If you are not sure then please ask your landlord
- Details of any children/relatives/friends who live with you - including their name, date of birth, age and income
- Account details of where you want your Universal Credit to be paid - account number and sort code
- Details of any savings
- If working - your expected monthly wage
- Details of any other income you receive
- Your email address, landline and/or mobile phone number.
Universal Credit is paid once a month into an account that you choose. Universal Credit can only be paid as a single payment. So if you have a partner, and you have more than one account, you will need to choose which account it is paid into.
In most cases, your first payment will be made six weeks after you first claim. If you think you will find it difficult to manage while waiting for this first payment you can ask the DWP for an 'advance payment' - you should ask for this at your first interview at the Jobcentre or call the helpline on 0345 600 0723, but please note this will be paid back out of your future Universal Credit payments.
Paying your rent
Universal Credit is paid in a single, monthly payment and you will be responsible for paying the full rent to your landlord. If you were a council tenant on housing benefit in the past, the rent would have been paid by the council into your rent account. Now it is your responsibility to budget and set up a direct debit to pay. Our budgeting tool may help you to manage your money so that you can pay your rent on time.
In some instances, the DWP may request help with budgeting from the council. If this is the case, you will be invited to an appointment with our personal budgeting support officers who will assist you with budgeting.
If you are two months or more in arrears with your rent, your landlord can request that an amount be taken out of your Universal Credit award and paid directly to them. This may not, however, cover your full rent and there may be a shortfall for you to pay. If you are struggling to pay your rent it is very important to seek advice and support as soon as possible and talk to your landlord. Failing to pay your rent can have serious consequences and you could lose your home.
For more information on Universal Credit please visit the DWP website Universal Credit - GOV.UK
To see how much Universal Credit you may be entitled to please use our 'entitled to' calculator: