Universal Credit is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It will help claimants and their families to become more independent and will simplify the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment. Universal Credit replaces:
- income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
Disability Living Allowance is not part of the Universal Credit but was replaced with Personal Independence Payments instead.
What are the main changes?
- You will need to claim and manage your claim online. To make a claim go to www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
- Your Universal Credit will be paid on a monthly basis
- Any help you get with your rent will be included with your Universal Credit payment and you will then pay the landlord yourself. Your claim will be managed by the Department for Work and Pensions and not by the Local Authority.
What do I need to do?
If you already claim one of the six benefits that will be eventually be replaced by Universal Credit, you will continue to do so for now.
Who is eligible to apply for Universal Credit?
If you need to make a new claim for benefit or you are looking for work you may qualify for Universal Credit.
To get Universal Credit you must:
- be 18 or over
- be under State Pension age
- not be in full time education or training
- not have savings over £16,000
You’ll get less Universal Credit if you have savings over £6,000 or earn enough money to cover your basic living costs.
If you live with your partner you’ll need to make a joint claim as a couple. Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they aren’t eligible for Universal Credit.
If you are not eligible to claim Universal Credit you will be advised to claim the other benefits as normal.
Council Tax Support
Universal Credit does not help to pay your Council Tax bill. You must claim Council Tax Support directly from Trafford Council. The quickest way is for you to make a claim online at www.trafford.gov.uk/cts
Council Tax Support cannot be backdated, if you don’t claim straight away your Council Tax Support cannot be reduced.
If you are having trouble claiming online or travelling to the Library, call 0161 912 2220 for further assistance.
Failure to do so will result in you paying your full Council Tax.
Apply for Universal Credit
To apply for Universal Credit visit www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.
Make sure you have the following information before you start as you cannot save your application and return to it later:
- 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 (e.g. from an insurance plan)
- Details of any other benefits you’re getting
Universal Credit - Help and Support
If you do not have access to a computer, there are a number of places in Trafford where you can use a computer for free or access free Wi Fi to make your online claim.
Details can be located at www.infotrafford.org.uk/computeraccesswithdemographics
If you are currently claiming benefits and you want to know how Universal Credit might affect you in the future, use the Universal Credit personal planner.
If you don't have a bank account already, you will need to open one to receive your Universal Credit payment Basic bank accounts are the simplest type of bank account. They are designed for people who don’t want an overdraft, or can’t have one. They can be useful if you need a way to receive benefit payments, wages, pay direct debits or just want to control your spending.
For more information about basic bank accounts see our Basic Bank Account - information leaflet.
Keeping Landlords informed
The Council is running regular landlord forums, newsletters and awareness sessions to keep landlords informed.
Universal Credit Newsletter - Issue 1 (July 2014)
Universal Credit Newsletter - Issue 2 (September 2014)
Universal Credit Newsletter - Issue 3 (October 2014)
Universal Credit Newsletter - Issue 4 (November 2014)
Universal Credit Newsletter - Issue 5 (April 2017)
Change of circumstances
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and have a change of circumstances (such as a partner or dependent child moves in, you start work, or move house) you must login to your Universal Credit online account and informed the DWP of the change.
If you receive Council Tax Support you must also report a change in circumstance to the Council at www.trafford.gov.uk/benefit-changes