What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs for people of working age, in or out of work. Universal Credit has replaced benefits for claimants both in and out of work, including housing benefit and tax credits.

Universal Credit is paid in one lump sum and on a monthly basis, this includes any entitlement you receive which helps you to pay your rent.

More information on Universal Credit also can be found here.

Which benefits has Universal Credit replaced?

Universal Credit has replaced the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit and
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you are of Pension Credit age, you will not be affected by this change (unless you have a partner who is under Pension Credit age and you are not getting Pension Credit). A pension age calculator is available here.

How do I claim Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is claimed online, as well as having internet access you will also need and email address, mobile number and bank account:

  • Set up a bank account with a high street bank

You should be able to set up a Direct Debit to pay your regular bills, including rent

  • Apply for your advance payment

It can take several weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment. Discuss applying for an advance payment when you speak with your Work Coach at the Job Centre

  • Think about budgeting

As Universal Credit is paid monthly, in arrears, so you will need to manage your money.  

Click here to see the full process of how to claim.

How do I pay my rent?

Universal Credit includes a housing element (rent). Claimants are responsible for paying their rent.

It's essential for you to make arrangements to pay your rent so that you do not fall into arrears.

Click here to find out how to pay your rent.

If you have any further questions about Universal Credit speak to our Income team.

For customers in Somerset and West of England call us on 01934 526 000 or email us at talktous@livewest.co.uk

For customers in Devon and Cornwall call us on 0300 123 8080 or email enquiries@livewest.co.uk

Universal Credit Changes

From the end of September 2021, the Coronavirus Extension Measures uplift will be removed. As a result, the Universal Credit payments you receive will be reduced. 

Find out more here