Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs that replaces some other benefits. You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you're on a low income or out of work.

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people of working age who are in or out of work, which is gradually replacing six income-related benefits and tax credits for new claimants.

Universal Credit will eventually replace the following benefits:
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
Visit gov.uk to access free independent benefit calculators to help you find out what benefits you could get.

​For a further explanation of Universal Credit you may wish to visit Gov.uk or Citizens Advice, or take a look at our Universal Credit Leaflet
To get Universal Credit you must:  
If you already receive one of the benefits that Universal Credit is due to replace, continue to do so as normal until you are told that you need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credit will not affect everybody straight away.

The ‘full’ Universal Credit service is currently being rolled out across the North East by postcode area, and is due to commence in Northumberland in two stages; the first stage commencing 7 November 2018, and the second stage commencing 12 December 2018.
JobCentre Plus Location Date you can claim Universal Credit from
7 November 2018
12 December 2018
  • You need to be online – You make your claim, check your payments, report changes and get support online
  • You need to set up an account to receive your money – Universal Credit will be paid direct to one bank account, as a single household payment. This can be paid into a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as your local Post Office or Credit Union, such as Northumberland Community Bank or NE First Credit Union
  • You will get a single monthly payment – You’ll need to manage your bills and costs for the whole month. If you want some help with managing your money, you can use the online Money Manager created by the Money Advice Service
  • You need to pay your rent or charges to your landlord directly – Your payment will include any help you get towards rent and charges. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent to your landlord. We suggest setting up a Standing Order payment to your landlord for the day your Universal Credit payment arrives in your account. That way you don’t need to remember to pay it or worry about how much you have left for other things. Your Universal Credit payment may not be enough to cover your rent and charges. You will still need to pay the full amount due to your landlord.

If you have made a Universal Credit claim but are unable to manage until your first payment, you may be able to get a Universal Credit advance.

You will need to pay back your advance a bit at a time from your future Universal Credit payments. You will usually pay your advance back over a 12 month period.

You can apply for an advance payment in your online account. You can also call the Universal Credit helpline or speak to your work coach.
You have to make your claim online through Gov.uk

To apply for Universal Credit visit Gov.uk

You may want to watch this 13 minute video as a guide to the online application process.


You must have the following information to make your claim:

Personal information
  • National Insurance Number
  • Your postcode
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Proof of your nationality
  • Information about your health
Housing information
  • Your address and who lives with you - such as partner, children you are responsible for, or lodgers
  • Your eligible rent if you are a living in social housing - this can be different from your full rent (make sure to check with your landlord so you get paid the right amount of Universal Credit)
  • Your landlord's name and address
Financial information
  • Details of bank, building society or Post Office Account
  • Details of savings or capital
  • If working, expected monthly wage
  • Details of any other income you receive
It will take up to an hour to make your claim and you must have all of the above information ready to complete it.
You need access to online facilities to apply for Universal Credit. There are no paper copies of the form.

Use our Universal Credit Digital Support Finder for a list of places with computer access to get online.

If, due to your circumstances, you are not able to get to an on-line location and are concerned about how to do your claim, please contact the Universal Credit help line. Telephone 0800 328 5644 (textphone: 0800 328 1344) Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm (closed bank holidays) or contact Citizens Advice please click here
You may be able to get other benefits and support if you are claiming Universal Credit.

This includes Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you are receiving these now and move onto Universal Credit, these benefits will continue to be paid as usual.

Remember: Universal Credit only replaces six income related benefits. It does not replace contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and if you have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions you can claim these alongside Universal Credit.
Council Tax Reduction (previously known as Council Tax Benefit), is not paid as part of Universal Credit.

You will need to make a separate claim for help towards your council tax.

You should apply for Council Tax Reduction straight away, you do not need to wait until your claim for Universal Credit has been assessed and/or paid.

For further details telephone 0345 600 6400 or 
Click here to apply for Council Tax Reduction
Free school meals are available to pupils in receipt of, or whose parents are in receipt of, one or more of the following benefits:
  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guarantee element of Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • Working Tax Credit run on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
For further information click here
Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) provides crisis support to residents of Northumberland.

For further information on Northumberland Emergency Transition Support (NETS) please click here
Frequently asked questions regarding Universal Credit

You will receive Universal Credit monthly, but won’t receive your first payment until about 5 weeks after your claim is made.
So, when you apply for Universal Credit you will have to wait;
  • A calendar month before your claim is assessed
  • Then up to seven more days before your first payment is made.

The general rule is that you will be responsible for paying your month’s rent from this income.
When you claim Universal Credit, you will no longer receive Housing Benefit. Instead, your Universal Credit payment will include a ‘housing costs element’ which you will need to pay to your landlord.

It will be your responsibility to pay your FULL rent to your landlord.
If you have an online Universal Credit account you can use that to get in touch with the Department for Work and Pensions.

Sign in to your Universal Credit account

If you don’t have an online account you can use these numbers to contact the Department for Work and Pensions.
  • Telephone: 0800 328 9344
  • Textphone: 0800 328 1344
All lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

You may also wish to visit www.gov.uk

Find locations where you can apply for Universal Credit online. The locations also offer digital support.

Please enter address details to find the nearest location. House name/number is optional. Then click the digital support location you are interested in for more information.
Alternatively please see our full list of Digital Support Locations for Universal Credit claimants.