Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a monthy payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work

Combined benefits logo

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

There are a small number of people who will not have their housing costs paid as part of their Universal Credit and will continue to receive help towards their rent by claiming Housing Benefit, for example:

  • If you have been placed into temporary accommodation by our housing team under housing homeless or homeless prevention legislation
  • If you are living in supported accommodation which has been classified as specified accommodation by Winchester City Council
  • If you are entitled to a severe disability premium. Click here to find out more about the severe disability premium.

You may be able to claim New Style Jobseekers Allowance or New Style Employment and Support Allowance depending on your National Insurance record. This can be with or instead of Universal Credit.

  • Mixed age couples

    A 'mixed age couple' is a couple where only one member is above the qualifying age for Pension Credit.

    From 15 May 2019 mixed age couples will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit. Both members of a couple will have to reach the Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit.

    The change does not affect mixed age couples who were receiving Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before 15 May unless their entitlement to both those benefits ends and they then need to make a new claim.

    Those receiving Pension Credit but not pension age Housing Benefit will be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit after 15 May if they require help with rent costs

  • How to claim Universal Credit

    You can make your Universal Credit (UC) claim online by visiting the GOV UK website.

    If you need help making a claim for Universal Credit:

    • Contact the Freephone Universal Credit helpline on:

     Telephone: 0800 328 5644

     Textphone: 0800 328 1344

     Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

    Help to claim

    The Citizens Advice Help to claim service helps people make a Universal Credit claim and receive their first full payment on time. It is available online, over the phone and face to face through local Citizens Advice services.

    The help covers from starting a claim to receiving your first full payment. They will provide claimants with the help they need. This could include, supporting a claimant to set up a Universal Credit account, work through their claim to-dos, ensure they are providing the right kind of evidence to the DWP and understand what Universal Credit will mean for them.

    Please contact the Universal Support Helpline on 0800 144 8444 or visit their website www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/winchester-district

    If you are helping a friend or family member to claim Universal Credit, there is some useful information here:

  • Preparing for Universal Credit

    Get a bank account

    Universal Credit will be paid into a bank, building society or credit union account but not a Post Office card account, make sure you have the right type of account.

    A basic bank account

    These accounts have most of the features of a current account. They allow you to pay money in and withdraw money but don't allow you to go overdraw.

    Having a bank account will help you manage your money and your bills. You can set up a monthly direct debit for your rent and your bills so they are always automatically paid on time. This will help you budget.

    Managing your money

    It is important that you know your household budget, your income and spending and prepare for any changes coming your way. If you are in danger of losing your home or are getting into debt you should seek advice. For further information, or advice, visit Understanding Universal Credit or contact Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644.

    If you are a Council Tenant and would like help with Personal Budgeting contact Tenancy Support on 01962 848 205 or email Tenancysupport@winchester.gov.uk

    Money Advice Service

    The Money Advice Service Online Money Manager includes:

    • Step-by-step questions that sign-post users to financial guidance and support relevant to their personal circumstances
    • Hints and tips for managing money and paying bills from a monthly payment
    • Sign-posting to further support, such as Advanced Payments and free debt advice

    Find out more about the Money Advice Service Online Money Manager.

    Get online

    You will need to be able to use a computer and the internet to claim Universal Credit as claims are made and managed online. If you need help to get online or want to refresh your computer skills there are courses available in libraries. Click here to see what is available.

    If you don't have access to a computer, tablet or broadband at home try your local Jobcentre, library or Winchester City Council City Offices.

    You will need an email address to claim Universal Credit.

    If you are a Winchester City Council Tenant and require help to set up an email address and claim Universal Credit you should contact Tenancy Support on 01962 848 205.

    If you are not a Winchester City Council Tenant and require help to set up an email address and claim Universal Credit you should contact The Citizens Advice Universal Support Helpline on 0800 144 8444.

  • Advance payments

    You can request an advance payment of Universal Credit to help you while you are waiting for your first payment.

    The advance payment is a loan that will have to be repaid over 12 months. Repayments will be deducted from your future Universal Credit payments.

    Find out more about Advance Payments here.

  • Paying your rent

    Universal Credit may include a payment to help you pay your rent. This payment will be paid as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. It is your responsibility to pay your landlord.

  • Help with Council Tax

    Universal Credit does not replace Council Tax Reduction, if you need help with your Council Tax costs you must make a separate claim here.