Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people on a low income or not working. It is administered and paid by The Department for Work and Pensions.

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits:

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

If you are currently claiming benefits

If you are currently claiming one of the benefits which Universal Credit has replaced, your benefits will continue as normal unless a change in your circumstances creates a break in your claim. 

Please see our Change in circumstances page or contact your benefits provider for further information.

If you are struggling to pay your rent or council tax, you might be able to get extra help from us through Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) or Council Tax Support before making a claim for Universal Credit.

For more information on Universal Credit and to find out if you're eligible to claim it, visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit.

Help and support

Making a claim

If you need help making a claim for Universal Credit, you will need to visit your nearest Job Centre Plus or Citizens Advice office. To book an appointment at your nearest Citizens Advice office, you can call their helpline on 0800 144 8444.

If you are struggling while awaiting your first payment, our local welfare support scheme can arrange food, gas and electric support. Find more information on our help with food and household bills page.

Housing costs

If you are claiming Universal Credit, you can still apply for housing benefit if:

  • you live in supported or exempt accommodation such as a hostel, a refuge, sheltered housing or accommodation which includes care, support or supervision
  • you are a pensioner
  • you live in temporary accommodation provided by the council

Council tax costs

You can apply for a council tax discount of up to 75% if you’re claiming Universal Credit. Find out more about Council Tax Support.

Extra support from the hardship fund

Under special conditions you can get extra help to pay your council tax.

To be considered for extra help, you must meet all six criteria.

You can apply if:

  • you were entitled to protected status in your Council Tax Support award before transferring to Universal Credit
  • changes to the scheme mean that you are no longer entitled to protected status, but otherwise would have qualified for protected status had the scheme not changed
  • your Council Tax Support award has reduced by an amount equal to at least 25% of the award immediately before transferring to Universal Credit
  • you have an overall loss of incomes and benefit following transfer to Universal Credit that is equal to or more than the loss in Council Tax Support
  • you can demonstrate that you do not have enough savings or income to pay for your council tax
  • you are facing an exceptional situation, for example a severe illness

If you meet all of these conditions, email LCC.benefits@leeds.gov.uk to request an application form.

Council tenants

You are responsible for paying your rent and other housing costs.

If you are on Universal Credit it may also include an amount for your rent. Visit GOV.UK for more information on your responsibilities and to view your account.

We can work with you on any matter affecting your Universal Credit claim and your tenancy. 

This includes offering digital support, training and helping you plan and prioritise your spending. 

Please contact us through your local housing team.

Help to manage your money

We can support you with:

  • filling in an income and expenditure form and calculating your expenses
  • advice on how to manage your income over a monthly period
  • reviewing your utility providers and household expenses to make sure you're on the best deal
  • finding debt advice from other organisations if you need it
  • setting up a payment plan with your landlord if arrears are building up
  • applying for employment and training

This service is available at the following community hubs:

More information about managing your money is also available from the Money Advice Service.

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