What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a part of the government's welfare reform changes. It will eventually replace the following benefits and tax credits, which will instead be paid to you in a single monthly payment:

  • Income Support 
  • income-based Jobseekers' Allowance
  • income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit.

Universal Credit has been fully rolled out to all new claimants who live in any postcodes starting PE7 and PE8 in Huntingdonshire.

This means that if you live in one of these postcodes you can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you:

  • have reached State Pension age
  • have more than two children (unless you've received Universal Credit within the last six months)
  • live in exempt accommodation (you will need to claim Universal Credit and also claim Housing Benefit to cover your rent).

If you don't fall into one of these categories you will need to make a claim for housing costs through Universal Credit.

If you do fall into one of these categories, please complete a Housing Benefit claim form.

How to claim Universal Credit

To claim Universal Credit you will need to apply online

If you don't have access to a computer or the internet, you can use the computers and free WiFi available at libraries across Huntingdonshire or our Customer Service Centres.

Please make your claim as soon as possible as delays in applying may affect your entitlement.

Payments of Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single payment which is only paid to one household member. It is paid in the following ways:

  • in arrears directly into your bank or building society account
  • if you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment – you’ll then pay your landlord directly
  • it will take at least five or six weeks before you get your first payment, but you can ask the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) for an advance payment if you don't have enough money to last that long
  • if you successfully submit an application, you’ll be contacted by the DWP to arrange an interview at a Job Centre to complete your application. 

Universal Credit and waiting days

If you make a new claim for Universal Credit you will not be paid for the first seven days. These are known as waiting days. However, you should not let this delay your claim and apply as soon as you are eligible to do so.

The seven day waiting period won’t apply in certain circumstances, for example if you:

  • are terminally ill or vulnerable
  • have previously claimed Universal Credit
  • are splitting up from or moving in with a Universal Credit claimant or
  • are moving on to it from another benefit.

Help with housing costs and Council Tax

Housing costs

Any help you get with your rent will be included in your Universal Credit payment. As the tenant, you are responsible for paying your rent to your landlord. In some circumstances payments can be made directly to your landlord, for example, when there are rent arrears or a threat of eviction or you find it difficult to manage payments.

Information about what Universal Credit means for landlords is available from GOV.UK. 

Council Tax

Help with Council Tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. You must claim for Council Tax support directly to us by using our online form and provide any evidence needed to support your claim. 

Further help and advice

You can find lots of information about Universal Credit on the Universal Credit website

Further information and advice is also available from the Money Advice Service