How to claim
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for people of working age on a low income, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
It is a single monthly payment which will eventually replace:
- Income support
- Income related Job Seeker's Allowance
- Income related Employment Support Allowance
- Housing benefit
- Working tax credit/child tax credit.
How to claim
Claims for Universal Credit should be made online at GOV.UK.
Apply for Universal Credit at GOV.UK
If you do not have a computer, try to borrow one from a friend or member of your family. If this isn't possible, you can use a computer free of charge at a Customer Service Centre or a Brent library, where assistance is offered with making your claim if you need it.
You need to be a library member to use the computers at the libraries. View more information on how to join a library.
Before making a claim, you need to gather the following information and have it ready:
- your postcode
- your National Insurance number
- details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
- your rent agreement (if you have one)
- details of your savings or other capital
- details of any income that’s not from work (eg from an insurance plan)
- details of any other benefits you’re getting
- you might also need these details for people who live in your home, e.g. your partner.
To claim Universal Credit you must live within Brent and meet other criteria. If you are not eligible to apply for Universal Credit you will still be able to apply for Jobseekers Allowance and other benefits.
The criteria for claiming Universal Credit is extended regularly and you should check the eligibility criteria at gov.uk
Existing benefit claimants
If you're already claiming any benefits you don't need to do anything. You'll be told when UC will affect you.
New benefit claimants
The initial roll out of UC is limited to certain single people and couples who would have made a new claim for Job Seekers Allowance. To claim UC you must:
- Be of working age and fit for work
- Have no children
- Not be waiting to hear about a claim or an appeal for Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, housing benefit
Help with council tax
Help with council tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. The Department for Work and Pensions will no longer accept a claim for Council Tax Support at the same time as you claim Universal Credit.
You must apply for Council Tax Support through the council's benefits service, and provide any evidence needed to support your claim. If you don't send your Council Tax Support claim to us when you apply for Universal Credit you may lose benefit.
Help with housing costs
Any help you get with your rent will be included in your UC payment and you will be responsible for paying your landlord. In some circumstances payments can be made direct to the landlord, for example, when there are rent arrears or threat of eviction or you find it difficult to manage payments.
Universal Credit will be paid monthly to one person in the household. In some cases, the DWP may split payments (eg if your partner's spending has caused money problems). You can get full details on Gov.uk.
Help with rent will be included with your UC payment so you can pay your landlord.
Help and support with your claim
Your local job centre will be able to advise you on Universal Credit, payments and budgeting support. If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.
If you need financial help before your UC payment is due and meet certain conditions, you can ask for an advanced payment. Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance.
Universal Credit helpline: 0345 600 0723
Help from DWP
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) aim to deliver support and information to help those affected to understand the changes and prepare for the move to Universal Credit.
Universal Credit personal planner
If you are currently claiming benefits and you want to know how Universal Credit might affect you in the future, you can use the Universal Credit personal planner to get a personal statement to find out what changes you may need to make to get ready for Universal Credit.
How we are involved
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises that there are customers who need help to claim Universal Credit and will require help with budgeting monthly.
The council is working in partnership with the DWP and other organisations to ensure that it delivers the help with claiming Universal Credit that some residents will need.
This partnership will deliver:
- supported on-line access
- personal budgeting support
- support from the DWP Universal Credit Service Centre on housing issues
We are committed to helping our residents gain access to services via the internet.
Claims for Universal Credit will mainly be made online at GOV.UK Universal Credit.
Our libraries and Customer Service Centres have PCs available for residents to use.
To assist with on-line claims for Universal Credit, staff will be available to help guide you through a claim. They will not be able to complete the form for you.
If you feel you are unable to use a computer to make your claim for UC then you will need to call 0845 600 0723 (there is a charge for this).
Personal budgeting support
Brent, in partnership with voluntary sector providers will assist customers of Universal Credit with personal budgeting support until 31 March 2016.
Personal budgeting support is about helping customers to adapt to three key changes that Universal Credit brings:
- a single household payment which is
- paid monthly
- with the Universal Credit housing element paid directly to the customer who is then required to pay the rent to their landlord themselves.
Personal budgeting support will help customers to manage their money and pay their bills on time.