Universal Credit

The full Universal Credit service was introduced across Runnymede Borough Council on Wednesday 28 November 2018. Find out how this could affect you.

About Universal Credit

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits:

  • Income support (IS)
  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance (JSAIB)
  • Income-related employment support allowance (ESAIR)
  • Housing benefit (HB)
  • Working tax credit (WTC)
  • Child tax credit (CTC)

How the introduction of Universal Credit may affect you

New claim

If you are of working age, unemployed or a low-wage earner, and are making a new claim for any of these benefits, you will need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Change in circumstances

You may also need to apply for Universal Credit if your circumstances change at any time, which means you have to re-apply for benefits and/or tax credits. 

You can also check changes that trigger Universal Credit.

If you already claim benefit

If there are no changes to your circumstances, residents will be gradually transferred over to Universal Credit between 2019 and 2023.

Exceptions to the changes

You will still claim help with your rent through the council if you:

  • Are considered homeless and living in temporary accommodation
  • Are living in supported accommodation
  • Are a pensioner
  • Have three or more dependent children

Making a claim for Universal Credit

You will need to make a claim to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

You will need to do this online and will need an email address. If you do not have an email address, you will need to create one. Please see the guide to setting up an email account.

Details you will need when you apply for Universal Credit

  • Your bank, building society or credit union account details - you can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you do not have one
  • An email address
  • Your National Insurance number
  • Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
  • Details of your income, for example payslips
  • Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property you rent out
  • Details of how much you pay for childcare if you're applying for help with childcare costs

If you do not provide the right information when you apply, it might affect when or how much you get paid.

You may also need these details for other people that live with you, including a partner or grown up children.

You will also need to verify your identity online by using the gov uk verify service . You will need to have proof of your identity to hand to speed up this process.

Getting help to claim Universal Credit

From April 2019 the Citizens Advice Bureau can help you with internet access and support at their offices. It can also give you personal budgeting support.

If you need extra support with making your claim, you can also call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. 

Once you have made your claim online, you will be invited to your local Jobcentre to accept and sign your claimant commitment. This is an agreement to complete certain tasks in order to receive Universal Credit.

Payment of Universal Credit

It will normally take five weeks for you to receive your first payment. 

If you will not be able to manage your budget until the first payment, you can ask for an advance payment of Universal Credit, but you will have to pay this back. The repayments will be taken out of your later payments (you can ask that this is done over 12 months). You can ask for an advance payment at the same time as you make your claim, via your online journal or the Jobcentre.

Universal Credit covers daily living costs and housing costs. It is paid monthly in arrears, on the same day each month, based on the date of your claim.

In most cases, it is paid into a bank account and you may want to consider setting up direct debits to pay your regular bills.

The Money Advice Service offers advice and more information on Universal Credit and other benefits.

How much Universal Credit you will get

This will depend on your circumstances.  You can get an idea of what help you might receive on the Turn 2 Us website about Universal Credit.

Help you can get with housing costs

If you pay rent or have a mortgage, a housing costs element is included in Universal Credit.

If you are an owner-occupier, you may get support for mortgage interest, as well as certain service charges. There is a waiting period of three months before you can claim this.

If you are a private tenant paying rent, your housing cost element will depend on the number of rooms you need. This is the same as the current housing benefit scheme.

Housing costs are no longer paid direct to landlords apart from in exceptional circumstances, or if you are living in certain types of accommodation where your landlord provides care and support. In these cases, the council may continue to pay you housing benefit.

Universal Credit and savings

If you or your partner have any savings or capital of between £6,000 and £16,000, the first £6,000 is ignored. 

The rest is treated as if it gives you a monthly income of £4.35 for each £250, or part of £250. For more information and an example of how this is calculated, please visit  Money Advice Service - Universal Credit and other benefits.

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