New Claims for Housing Benefit are made through Universal Credit. For more information on this and Universal Credit please click here
Getting ready for Universal Credit
Universal credit is a new benefit system replacing many of the current benefits and tax credits. It is for working age individuals, including single parents. You can claim it whether you have a job or not. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is being introduced gradually across the country. Universal Credit is replacing six working age and income-related benefits, also called 'legacy benefits'
It brings together the following benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
You have to claim Universal Credit online (GOV.UK Apply for Universal Credit). This can be on a computer, smart phone or tablet. The Department for Work and Pensions has produced a short video demonstrating the new Universal Credit Full Service online claim and account. You may find it useful to watch the video, to familiarise yourself with the new Universal Credit claim process;
Universal credit will be a big change for you and your family’s finances – so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared for the switchover. We’re here to support you, but there are different ways that you can start to prepare so we’ve put together some tips to make sure you and your family is getting ready for the start of Universal Credit
- Plan ahead - When universal credit is introduced you will get one monthly payment for all benefits at once – so you may need to change the way you manage your money each month. We have online budgeting calculator which may help and you can access by login on to either a budgeting or money advice.
- Mind the gaps - Although Universal Credit may not apply to you for some time, there are still lots of things you can do to prepare. Why not try the Universal Credit Personal Planner by clicking here.
- Have you got an Account - Make sure you have a bank account or similar. You’ll need a bank or building society account, or an account with a credit union for your payments. If you don’t already have one please visit local banks and building society or contact Fusion Credit Union. Help is available by visiting: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/corporate/helping-your-tenants-get-a-bank-account-landhub
- Internet access - Make sure you have access to the internet – you’ll be expected to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online. If you require help with getting online visit your local library or visiting our Offices.
- Plan ahead - Set up a Direct Debit to ensure your rent account is kept up to date. To set up a Direct Debit please contact Money Management Team.
- Check your rent Balance - The best way for you to view your rent account is to login on the 'Self Serve' section of this website. If you need any help please contact us. If you do not have a computer and require a rent statement please ring the Income Management Team on 01543 462621
There is also free and impartial budgeting online money information and advice that you can access by clicking here.
Universal Credit will now accept new claims from families regardless of how many children they have. If you’re making a new claim, Universal Credit will pay an additional amount for all children born before 6 April 2017. You won’t be paid an additional amount for more than 2 children, unless the children were born before 6 April 2017 (on or before 6 April for Income Support) or special circumstances apply.
If you have been getting support for children in Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance in the last 6 months, you will continue to get the child amount for the same number of children, as long as you remain responsible for the same children.
If you’re struggling to pay your rent, or if your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit stops for any reason, please contact Income Management Team by email or ring 01543 462621. We can help and advise.
For further information see the leaflet below:
Universal Credit FAQ
Universal Credit Update
How to claim Universal Credit for Housing Cost (Rent): step by step
Universal Credit can help you with your living costs if you’re on low income or out of work.
- Step 1: Check if you're eligible hide
If you've worked in the last 2 to 3 years, you may also be eligible for:
- 'new style' Jobseeker's Allowance if you're out of work
- 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance if you can't work because of illness or disability
- Step 2: Create an account and make a claim
You need an online account to claim Universal Credit.
You must submit your claim within 28 days of creating your account.
If you live with your partner, they will also need to set up an account. You'll be given a code to link the accounts together.
- and Find out how your claim is assessed
You'll need to have an interview with Job Centre Plus (Cannock). You'll be told how to arrange this after you submit your claim. It will be within 10 working days.
If you have a disability or health condition you may need a medical assessment. You'll be told if you need one after you claim.
- What to do if you have a health condition or disability
Step 3: Apply for an advance on your first payment
If you need help with bills or other costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply to get an advance.
- Get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment
- Check if you can get any other financial support
But remember you will have to pay the advance back; so always ask for budgeting advice and only take the advance for essential bills.
- Step 4: Attend your interview
- What happens at the interview
Step 5: Get your first payment show
You’ll get your first payment 5 weeks after you claim. Your account will be updated to tell you how much it will be.
- What to do if you disagree with the decision
Step 6: Follow your agreement and report any change of circumstances
You must keep to the Claimant Commitment you agreed at your interview. If you do not, your payments could stop.
You must also update your account if your circumstances change to get the right payment.
- How to report a change in circumstances
You can report a change of circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit account.
- What to do if your payments are stopped
Housing Benefit run on for Universal Credit
- If a claimant received housing benefit before claiming UC, they will receive a two week run on of this payment when they make a claim.
- The payment is made by the local authority.
- The extra 2 weeks of housing benefit will not be taken into account as income and will not reduce the first UC payment.
- Claimants do not need to claim these extra 2 weeks – they will be paid automatically when you claim.
- If housing benefit is paid directly to a claimant, they will also get this paid directly to them too.
Claimants can only get the housing benefit run on once – the first time they claim UC.
Useful website information
Claimants in Temporary Accommodation
- Claimants who move into Temporary Accommodation whilst claiming UC will no longer receive the housing element of UC. They will receive housing benefit instead.
- This will be the process for both new claims and also for any change of circumstances that move a claimant into Temporary Accommodation during their claim.
- If a change of circumstance occurs, it may leave a claimant with a shortfall to pay, as the housing element would be turned off for the entire assessment period despite there possibly being a rent liability for part of that period. In this case, the claimant can request a Discretionary Housing Payment from the local authority.
Last Updated: 02/09/2020