Universal Credit

Universal Credit 'full service' is now live in Newcastle-under-Lyme

This means, if you are working age, you will need to apply for Universal Credit as your housing costs will be paid in your Universal Credit payment.  If you are unsure which benefit to claim please contact the Benefits Office on 01782 715500 or your local Jobcentre Plus.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit for working age people that replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits.  Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work.  Universal Credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they will get ongoing support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available.

If you live in Supported Accommodation you will still be eligible to claim Universal Credit but will also need to apply for Housing Benefit through Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council for help towards your rent.

Which Benefits is Universal Credit Replacing?

Universal Credit combines six benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

How to Claim Universal Credit

Applications will be made online and administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.  Universal Credit claims need to be made using the Internet, but Jobcentre Plus has said that if someone can't do this then they may be able to offer help. You should get in touch with your Jobcentre first, but there are other places where you might be able to get help or be able to use a computer to make a claim, such as your local library or Citizens Advice. 

Before you start your claim you will need:-

  • Email address, landline and/or mobile phone number
  • National Insurance number (and your partner's)
  • Postcode
  • Landlord's name and address
  • Your bank or building society account details (or credit union account).

You will also need (if applicable):

  • Photo ID
  • Rent costs (tenancy agreement)
  • Wages (payslips)
  • Family details

Universal Credit will be paid monthly, directly into your bank or building society account, so you may need to be ready for a change in how often you get paid.  If you're making a new claim, you may have to wait up to five weeks before you get paid.

Universal Credit will include the money for your rent. It will no longer be paid through Housing Benefit from Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, it will be paid directly to you. This means you'll have to pay your rent to your landlord.

 Follow this link to make a claim for Universal Credit

Universal Credit Advance Payments

You may not receive your first Universal Credit payment for 5 weeks. If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for this payment you may be able to get an advance payment. You can find out more about how to apply for a Universal Credit advance here.

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments are intended to provide short-term financial assistance to help with housing costs.  This can be paid in addition to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing element included).  You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment here.

Council Tax Reduction

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme could help you pay less Council Tax if you are on a low income whether you work or claim benefits – including Universal Credit.  When you make a claim for Universal Credit and you indicate that you wish to claim Council Tax Reduction, the Department for Work and Pensions will notify the Local Authority that you have made this claim and your Council Tax Reduction will automatically be awarded when the Local Authority receives notification from the Department for Work and Pensions that your Universal Credit has been put into pay.

Help and Advice

Are you ready for Universal Credit?  Try this simple test on the DWP website to see what you might need to do to be ready.

For further information about Universal Credit including who is eligible, how to make a claim and more please visit the GOV.UK website.  There is also a dedicated Universal Credit website which will help you to understand what Universal Credit means for you.

Information for landlords

Universal Credit will change the way you have to deal with your tenants and their rent.  A guide for landlords is provided on the Department for Work and Pensions website.

If you don't think your tenant will be able to cope with getting their housing costs themselves, you can ask for an Alternative Payment Arrangement from the Department for Work and Pensions here.  Alternative Payment Arrangements are available to all landlords.

Further information and some top tips 

Last updated 1 April 2020

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