Chevron up Chevron down Chevron left Chevron right
Skip to main content

Universal Credit

The Government continues to replace a number of benefits to make the benefit system simpler and improve the incentives for work. Only one claim needs to be made and only one payment will be made. Universal Credit is being rolled out across the country, and there will be claims in our area soon.The payments will be made monthly in arrears so it is important that you budget for your money to last the whole month.

Claiming Universal Credit is different to the way you currently claim benefits. You will be expected to apply for Universal Credit online via the internet and manage your claim through an online account.

Claims will be administered by the Department of Work and Pensions at a central location rather than by your local council, Job Centre Plus and benefits agency.

If you are on a low income, you can still be paid Universal Credit when you first start a new job or increase your part-time hours.

You will receive one monthly payment, paid into your bank account in the same way as a monthly salary. This payment will be made in arrears. Universal Credit will replace these existing benefits:

  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Child tax credits
  • Working tax credits
  • Housing benefit

Claims for existing benefits and credits are being phased out. If you currently claim any of the benefits listed above, at some point your claim will be transferred over to Universal Credit, the housing benefit part of which will be paid to you. We don't know the date yet, but we will let you know as soon as we do.

Once you start to claim Universal Credit, we will no longer receive housing benefit direct from the local authority on your behalf.

You will be responsible for paying your rent and service charges to us. Your tenancy agreement says that you have to pay your rent in advance and once you are transferred to Universal Credit, you will need to make sure that it is paid on time. There are lots of ways that you can pay, but the easiest way to pay is to set up a direct debit.

To find out more about what Universal Credit is, watch this video below:

If you need to apply for Universal Credit you can pick up some useful hints and tips by watching this video below:

 Questions about Universal Credit

  • What is Universal Credit?

    Universal Credit is a means tested benefit that brings together a number of in and out of work benefits into one including; Income bases Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.

  • Who will be able to claim Universal Credit?

    Universal Credit is available to people who are unemployed or on low income and of working age making a new claim.

  • How often will Universal Credit be paid?

    Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears.

  • How much Universal Credit will I receive?

    You can get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you’ll be entitled to with this calculator on the Policy in Practice website.

    Universal Credit Calculator

  • Who will receive the Universal Credit payments?

    These will, in the vast majority of cases, be paid to you or where there is a joint Universal Credit claim, the payment will be made to either you or your partner.

  • What is the Housing Costs Element of Universal Credit?

    This is calculated on the basis of your net rent plus any eligible service charges.

  • Will existing benefits claimants be affected?

    Not straight away but everyone currently claiming an eligible benefits (see What is Universal Credit?) will eventually be moved over to Universal Credit. The timescale for this move has not yet been finalised by Government but should not be before 2017.

  • When will Universal Credit affect me?

    This is not yet completely clear yet. Universal Credit has been rolled out across the country but in most areas only single, new claimants of working age are affected.

  • Will Universal Credit affect everyone?

    No. Only if you are of working age with a low income will you become a Universal Credit claimant. There may also be some of you who live in certain types of accommodation who will still receive Housing Benefit rather than the Housing Element of Universal Credit. (People aged between 18 and the qualifying age for Pension Credit (currently 60 years, six months).)

  • Will Universal Credit replace all existing benefits?

    No. Someone claiming Universal Credit will also be able to make a claim for; contribution based Jobseeker’s Allowance, contributory Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (or Personal Independence Payments) Child Benefit and Carer’s Allowance. Some of you will claim one of these benefits alongside Universal Credit. Council Tax Benefit is also not included in Universal Credit.

  • What information do I need to make an online Universal Credit claim?

    You will need to have with you; your National Insurance number, an email address, your phone number, your address, PA Housing's address, the amount of rent that you are charged, your bank account details, details of any savings that you have and any salary or income that you receive.

    The form cannot be saved so you will need all of this information as a claim must be completed on-line in one sitting.

  • How to report a change in your circumstances

    You need to report changes to your circumstances so you keep getting the right amount each month.

    Your claim might be stopped or reduced if you don’t report a change of circumstances straight away.

    Changes can include:

    • finding or finishing a job
    • having a child
    • moving in with your partner
    • starting to care for a child
    • moving to a new address
    • changing your bank details
    • your rent going up or down
    • changes to your health condition
    • becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach
    • changes to your earnings (only if you’re self-employed)

    You can report a change of circumstances by either:

    Universal Credit helpline
    Telephone: 0800 328 9344
    Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
    Welsh language (report changes): 0800 328 1744
    Textphone: 0800 328 1344
    Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm 
    Find out about call charges

    If you get a job or increase the hours you work

    Use a benefits calculator or speak with your work coach to find out how getting a job or an increase in your earnings might affect your Universal Credit claim.

    If you’ve been paid too much

    You may have to repay the money if you:

    • didn’t report a change straight away
    • gave wrong information
    • were overpaid by mistake

    You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or don’t report a change in your circumstances.

    If you have a terminal illness

    You may get extra money if you’re terminally ill and you’re not expected to live more than 6 months.

    If you’re in a ‘full service’ area

    Ask a doctor or other healthcare professional to fill in form DS1500. They’ll either send it for you, or you’ll need to send it to:

    Department for Work and Pensions 
    Universal Credit Full Service

    If you’re in a ‘live service’ area

    Ask a doctor or healthcare professional to fill in form DS1500. You’ll then need to call the Universal Credit live service helpline to report the change.

    Universal Credit helpline
    Telephone: 0800 328 9344 
    Textphone: 0800 328 1344 
    Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

    If you’ve already sent form DS1500 for Personal Independence Paymentor Employment and Support Allowance, you don’t need to send it again.

If you have more questions about Universal Credit you can call us on 01932 235 830 or email us at

If you receive Housing Benefit, you’ll need to let your local housing benefit department know your new rent.  If you live in Elmbridge, we’ll let them know automatically. If you get Universal Credit, you need to let the DWP know.

Information on reporting a change in your circumstances can be found here

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0800 328 1744
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

  • Text size