About Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a new working-age benefit that has been introduced across the country as part of the government’s welfare reforms.
Universal Credit is replacing:
- Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
You’ll only move onto Universal Credit when you need to make a new claim for any of the benefits and tax credits listed above.
If your circumstances do not change, you will continue to get your current benefits and tax credits for the time being.
The Department for Work and Pensions will let you know when you need to transfer onto Universal Credit.
You will still need to claim Housing Benefit from South Gloucestershire Council for help with your rent if you:
- Live in temporary or supported accommodation
- Have reached State Pension age. (Check here for more information about State Pension age)
- Are entitled to the severe disability premium in your legacy benefits. The Department for Work and Pensions will let you know when you need to transfer onto Universal Credit
Universal Credit will be paid differently to current benefits. You’ll get a single payment for your household and it’ll be paid once a month, usually into your bank, or building society account.
If your Universal Credit payment includes an amount for rent/housing, you will need to pay this to your landlord yourself.
For more information on what this means, visit the Universal Credit website, set up by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Most applications for Universal Credit need to be made online. You can apply for Universal Credit online here.
Make sure you have the following information ready before you start your online application:
- your postcode
- your National Insurance Number
- your email address
- details of the bank, or building society account that you will want the Universal Credit paid into
- your rent agreement (if you have one)
- details of your savings or other capital
- details of any income that is not from employment (for example from an insurance plan or an Occupational Pension)
- details of any other benefits you’re getting
- details of any children, including their Child Benefit numbers
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
These lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
If you don’t have access to the internet, you can visit our One Stop Shop (OSS) sites for help with your Universal Credit application.
Our One Stop Shop sites can be found at:
- Kingswood One Stop Shop – Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood BS15 9TR
- Yate One Stop Shop – Kennedy Way, Yate BS37 4DQ (via West Walk)
- Patchway One Stop Shop – The Patchway Hub, Rodway Road, Patchway BS34 5PE
Monday to Wednesday 8.45am to 5.00pm
Thursday and Friday 8.45am to 4.30pm
The One Stop Shop sites are generally busiest between 11:00 am and 2.30pm, particularly on Mondays. Please be aware that waiting times may increase during these periods.
Universal Credit, Better Off In Work Calculator – find out a rough estimation of what you might be entitled to under Universal Credit and whether you’d be better off in work.
Benefits calculators GOV.UK – independent benefits calculators through GOV.UK to find out: what benefits you could get, how to claim, how your benefits will be affected if you start work.
Advice if you already get or have applied for Universal Credit
You will receive your first payment for Universal Credit between five and six weeks after you make your claim.
Then you will receive a payment every month after that. This will include money to help with your rent and will usually be paid directly your bank account.
If you don’t have a bank account you will need to open one. You can get a basic account for free from most high street banks. You’ll need to take some ID and proof of address.
If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance payment here.
The wait before your first payment is made up of a one month assessment period and up to 7 days for the payment to reach your account.
Please see here for more information about Universal Credit payments.
After the first payment, you’ll be paid on the same date of every month.
If your payment date is on a weekend or a bank holiday you’ll be paid on the working day before.
You’ll get a monthly statement that tells you how much Universal Credit you’re going to get.
If you are waiting for a payment and are struggling to pay for essentials like food, gas and electricity, you may be able to get short-term help via South Gloucestershire Council’s Welfare Grant Scheme. Please see here for more information about this scheme.
Universal credit explained
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