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, or you are struggling to make an online claim yourself, your local Citizen Advice Bureau will be able to help you. You can:
- Call the national Help to Claim, helpline on 0800 023 2581 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm)
- Webchat at http://www.cas.org.uk/helptoclaim
- Face to face - contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau
- You can also visit your local library or community hub to get online.
Printed maps of free local internet access points and support in your area is available at your local Job Centre Plus.
Before you start your claim for UC, 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 – There may be certain circumstances where UC can be paid twice monthly, this must be requested via the Council or the DWP. This can be done through your journal or take place at the job centre via your work coach. Payments may not be backdated to take into account any delays in making your claim.
- the DWP can arrange to pay UC twice monthly, but this is only in certain circumstances
- you can access up to one month's UC via an advance, which you will have to pay back.
If you have difficulties in managing your UC claim, support and advice is available from any of the following services:
You will need:
- to know the amount of rent you should pay
- 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 five 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, etc
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 Rent Income Support Team.
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 working 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.
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.