Universal credit

If you are on a low income or out of work, you may be eligible for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a monthly payment. It replaces:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

If you already receive one or more of these benefits, your local Jobcentre Plus will let you know when you are moving to Universal Credit. 

If you want to make a new claim for one of the benefits listed above, you need to make a claim for Universal Credit instead. 

However, you can claim Housing Benefit if:

  • You are a Pensioner
  • You live in temporary/homeless accommodation, supported accommodation or in a refuge
  • you receive a Severe Disability Premium as part of your benefit
  • Make a claim for Housing Benefit

Paying your rent

Universal Credit is paid monthly, and may include money towards your housing costs. This is known as the Housing element. You are responsible for using this money to pay your landlord yourself and for covering any shortfall.

You need to manage your money carefully so you can pay your landlord on time. Speak to your landlord to agree the best way to pay them, for example, by direct debit and/or standing order.

Help managing your money on Universal Credit

Service charges

Your Universal credit may include an amount towards service charges that you need to pay your landlord. Your landlord will be able to tell you which charges are supported by Universal Credit and the total amount you can get support for. All service charges that are covered by the current system will still be covered with Universal Credit.

Paying your mortgage

If you own the home you live in, your Universal Credit payment may include Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). The amount you receive will be based on a set rate of interest applied to your outstanding mortgage and will be paid direct to your mortgage lender. Once you are receiving earned income, SMI will no longer be a part of your Universal Credit.

If your house is leasehold, you can also receive help with some service charges.