Universal Credit

Universal Credit is now live in Slough

It is available to single people and whether or not you can claim it will depend on your personal circumstances. You can check if you can get Universal Credit here.

If you are making a new claim for any of the benefits below after 28th September you must check if you should claim Universal Credit and make a claim online.

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Once you claim Universal Credit, you must report any changes of circumstances straight away by telephoning the Universal Credit telephone line 0345 6000 723 or textphone 0345 6000 743 see Change of circumstances for how to report changes and what changes you must report.

Once you are in receipt of Universal credit you will have all your benefit money paid directly into your bank accounts, rather than to the council. If you do not have a bank account the Department of Work and Pensions will ask you to open one.

The money will be paid to you monthly in arrears and you will receive one lump sum each month, this money is for both your living expenses and your rent which you must pay to your landlord. Your Universal Credit payment will include money for your rent even if you are a council tenant.

This will mean a huge change in the way that those in receipt of housing benefit have to manage their finances. This is because it places responsibility to pay the rent firmly on the shoulders of tenants and means that the tenant will need to make sure that they budget appropriately and have enough money at the end of the month to pay the rent.

If you need help and advice in budgeting on a monthly basis you must let the DWP know when you make your claim and they can arrange for support.

You will be expected to make your claim for Universal Credit online, if you do not have access to a PC or you need help and support to actually make your claim online please visit MyCouncil or the libraries where PCs will be available and there will be staff to help you make your claim.

The main differences between universal credit and the current welfare system are:

  • universal credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
  • most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account
  • universal credit will be responsive – as people on low incomes move in and out of work, they’ll get on-going support, giving people more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
  • most people on low incomes will still be paid universal credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours
  • claimants will receive just 1 monthly payment, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary
  • support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment.

Like other benefits, universal credit payments are made in arrears. This means you are paid for a past period.

You may be able to get a short term advance payment of universal credit (which you'll have to repay) if you would be caused hardship by the wait. You can apply for this at the same time as you apply for universal credit.