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Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?


Universal Credit is part of the government’s Welfare Reform. It is a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income and will replace six existing benefits.

Universal Credit is replacing:

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

What is different about Universal Credit?

Universal credit is claimed online. Payments are made monthly in arrears directly into your account if you are a tenant. It also includes an amount for your housing costs (rent payment). You are responsible for paying rent to your landlord.

Is Universal Credit just for people who are unemployed?

No. It is a benefit for anyone on a low to moderate income. It does not matter whether you are in work, out of work or how many hours you work. It can also apply if you are a carer, have child care costs or if you are too ill to work.


When is it coming to Leeds?

Universal Credit is currently being introduced in stages across the country starting with newly unemployed single people. It will gradually be introduced to other groups of people over the next few years.

Only newly unemployed single people from1st Feb 2016 will need to apply for Universal Credit. It replaces Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

To find out if you're eligble to claim Universal Credit, please check the gov.uk website.

What does it mean for me?

Most people are not affected on 1st Feb 2016. This is because it initially only affects newly unemployed single people. If you already get one of the six benefits that will be eventually replaced by Universal Credit, you will carry on receiving these benefits until:

  • You need to make a new claim for JSA
  • Universal Credit is extended to other groups. If this happens, you will get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to let you know when this is happening.

If you pay Council Tax and you get Universal Credit you will need to claim Council Tax Support or pay the Council Tax in full. From 1 April 2017 there is a new Council Tax Support Scheme for people who have claimed Universal Credit. Find out more by visiting our Universal Credit and Council Tax Support page.

If you receive Universal Credit and want to apply for Council Tax Support you can download our Council Tax Support application form (PDF 123KB) for Universal Credit claimants.

You are not affected if you are of Pension Credit age. You will continue to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit instead.

To check if you are of Pension Credit age, please visit the DWP website here: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension​​​​​​​

Click to expandGet online

​People will make their Universal Credit claim online. We can help you make a claim if you need support.

If you don’t have access to the internet we have produced a Get Online in Leeds leaflet (PDF 247kb). This leaflet helps you find access to a computer for free and also basic IT skills courses in your local area.

Copies are available at your local Jobcentre, library and One Stop Centre.

If you are worried about your IT skills, we can help with training. Your local Jobcentre, library and One Stop Centre can help you find a course that suits you.​​​​

Click to expand​Open a suitable bank account

To receive a Universal Credit payment you will need to have a Bank, Building Society, Post Office account or Leeds Credit Union account.

Check that your bank account will let you set up regular payments for rent and other bills. For example you can’t make regular payments from a Post Office card account.

If you qualify for help with rent, this will be paid to you directly and you will then need to pay your landlord.

Leeds Credit Union can help you open a bank account that will accept Universal Credit and help you to budget your money.

For more information call 0113 242 3343 or please visit the Leeds city credit union website.

Click to expand​​​​Manage your money

As Universal Credit is paid monthly, you might want to think about making changes to the way you budget, especially when you move from the old to the new system.

If you are worried about managing your money on a monthly basis you can get support and advice. The Council’s Money Information website also has details of where you can get free information and advice.

There is also a ‘Help Managing Your Money’ (PDF 450kb) booklet which provides details of organisations where you can go to for support.

You can also get information from the Money Advice Service about managing rent payments whilst on Universal Credit.

Alternatively you can visit the Department for Work and Pensions budgeting page for more information.​

Click to expandI am a landlord – what do I need to know?

The Department for Work and pensions have created information for private and social sector landlords which gives information on how you can help tenants prepare for the changes.

Visit Universal Credit and rented housing.

Alternatively, for more information you can visit the Department for Work and Pensions Universal Credit toolkit.​

Click to expandI deal with customers face to face – where can I get more information?

We have created a booklet (opens as a PDF) for staff providing information on Universal Credit and how they can support customers.

Alternatively you can visit the Department for Work and Pensions website for more information for partner organisations.​

Click to expand​If you need more information

For more information about Universal Credit you can visit the Department for Work and Pensions website or contact the Universal Credit Service Centre on 0345 600 0723.

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