Universal Credit

What you need to know!Universal Credit leaflet

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age, in or out of work, designed to top up their income to a minimum level. Universal Credit (UC) replaces Housing Benefit and certain other benefits for people who are out of work as well as tax credits for people in work.

Please read our Universal Credit leaflet.

*Please note that the changes only apply to those under retirement age.

  • The UC payment is paid monthly
  • Claimants need to budget for all of their expenditure for the whole month. Top level debts such as rent and council tax need to be paid first
  • The move to Universal Credit is gradual so you may not yet be affected

There are some very clear and simple guides:

Council Tax benefit 

If you are claiming Universal Credit, then you will need to apply for your Council Tax benefit separately through your local authority.

Check the timeline for benefits changes  click here.

Who is affected?

UC rolls the following benefits into one payment for anyone making a new claim after the start date for their postcode area:

Housing Benefit, Income Based JSA, Income Support, Child Tax Credits, Income Based ESA  and  Working Tax Credits.

You may also be affected if you claim the above benefits and your circumstances change.

 How will it affect me?

• You will have to claim and provide all information online at www.gov.uk 

• There is a minimum 5 week wait for claims to be processed, and you will not get any money paid to you in this time

• You will have to pay us your rent, if you claim Housing Benefit it will not be paid to us by the council any longer and you will need a bank account

This Money Helper page and film help explain universal credit.

What do I need to do?

  • Start paying a small amount each month on top of your rent, to build up some rent in advance so you are covered while you wait for your money to be paid
  • Universal Credit produce a clear guide to Your claim journey
  • Universal Credit also produce this practical guide to  How to make a claim - also you must inform Westward immediately if you make a claim so that we are aware  
  • This free Universal Credit calculator from Policy in Practice is a quick and accurate 'ready reckoner' to see how Universal Credit could affect your benefits
  • Set up a Westward MyAccount and get used to managing your tenancy rent account online - ask us if you need help getting online! It's really worth it as you will then be entered into a monthly prize draw for either a £100 Love2Shop reward or £150 placed in a credit union savings account for you

If you would like any help , please contact our advisers on 0300 100 1010. To stay up to date, read Money Matters our latest customer newsletter which features benefits updates.

Prefer to watch?

The Department of Work and Pensions have made a short film that should answer many of your questions about universal credit. It covers setting up an account, claiming, how to use your journal and what is on www.gov.uk/universalcredit