Universal Credit (UC) replaces the following benefits and tax credits with one single monthly payment:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credit
You can only apply for UC online on the Government website.
Before you start you can watch this video which gives you a step-by-step guide to applying online.
How to claim
If you don't have Internet access at home, your local Job Centre Plus will be able to help you make your claim. You can also visit your local library, or community hub to get online.
Before you start you should consider the following:
- you need to have your own email address to apply
- you will have to include details of your rent when you claim so that your housing costs are included
- UC can only be paid directly into a bank, building society, or credit union account
- UC will be paid monthly in arrears – payments will not be backdated to take into account any delays in you making your claim
- you can access up to a month's worth of UC within 5 days via an interest-free advance. You will have up to 12 months to pay the advance back
Support and advice is available. If you have difficulties in managing your UC claim get in touch with the Benefits are Changing Team.
You will need:
- your tenancy/occupancy agreement or a rent statement showing your rent
- your landlord’s name and address
- your postcode
- your (and your partner’s) National Insurance number, passport or photo driving licence
- details of anyone who lives with you
- your bank account details
- details of any savings
- your expected monthly salary (if working)
- details of any other income you receive
- your email address and landline or mobile number
What happens when you apply
It can take up to six weeks for you to receive your first payment. It is important that you do not delay completing your application so that it can be assessed in line with the timescale set out below.
For more information visit www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
Things you must do
- report any change of circumstances online immediately
- advise your Work Coach of your current housing situation
- keep in touch with your Work Coach at the Job Centre online
- do all the things agreed with your Work Coach
- keep your claimant commitment and job search up to date (you do not want to be sanctioned)
- keep up-to-date and manage your online account (this is called your journal)
- make a separate claim to South Lanarkshire Council for your Council Tax Reduction
- set up an email account
- get access to the Internet – for example visit your local library to get online
Remember if you receive Housing Benefit or pay rent you must:
- tick the box on the UC form confirming that you have housing costs to pay otherwise they will not be included in your claim
- open a bank account and start saving – at your local bank, building society or credit union
- make a budget plan – for example visit www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk
It is important that you inform us if you are affected by the DWP under occupancy provisions ('Bedroom Tax'), as your UC award will reduce automatically. We may be able to help cover the difference between your UC award and rent change, contact the Benefits are Changing Team.
Paying your Council Tax
Universal Credit does not include an amount for your Council Tax. We will continue to assess your entitlement to Council Tax Reduction if you are on Universal Credit and it is important that you apply for Council Tax Reduction as soon as possible after you make your claim for Universal Credit. We will also continue to assess applications for Discretionary Housing Payments.
If you need more information on Council Tax Reduction or want to apply, please see our Council Tax Reduction page.
Paying your rent - South Lanarkshire Council tenants
You need to pay your rent yourself. We will no longer receive the housing element of UC directly as payment of your rent. It will be your responsibility to make sure your rent is paid on time.
Once you have received your first UC payment you can also choose to:
- receive monthly or twice-monthly payments and/or
- ask for your rent (housing costs) to be paid direct to us
To avoid missing your rent payment in future simply contact your local housing team and we will discuss the best payment options to suit your circumstances. If you are not able to pay your rent contact your local housing team within 3 days to avoid further action.
In certain instances we can request a Managed Payment to Landlord for your rent to be paid direct from your UC claim for example rent arrears outstanding on your rent account or if you are vulnerable.