Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a new simpler single monthly payment for people of working age in or out

Combined benefits logo

of work.

It supports working age people with basic living expenses and housing costs and replaces 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 from Winchester City Council, 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 who are entitled to a severe disability premium. You can find out more about the severe disability premium at https://www.gov.uk/disability-premiums-income-support

Changes for mixed aged couples:

A 'mixed age' couple is a couple where one member is above, and the other is below, the minimum 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 parties 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 will not affect mixed age couples who are entitled to and claiming Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit immediately before 15th May unless their entitlement to both those benefits subsequently ends (for example, due to a change of circumstances) and they then need to make a fresh claim.

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

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


  • Who does Universal Credit affect?

    Universal Credit can be paid if you are unemployed and looking for work, unable to work because of illness or disability, or if you are working but on a low income. The amount you will receive will depend on your level of income and other family circumstances. There will be a basic personal amount with additional amounts for disability, caring responsibilities, children and housing costs. 

    If you are currently claiming any of the benefits that are listed above, you will not need to claim Universal Credit unless you have a change in circumstances. Eventually, you will be moved onto Universal Credit, even if you have had no change in circumstances.

    If you are not currently claiming any of the benefits listed above and your circumstances change, you will need to make a claim for  Universal Credit.

  • Once Universal Credit is in payment

    Once you are receiving Universal Credit, your claim will continue if you are working or if you are out of work. If you are on a low income and are moving in and out of work, Universal Credit will remain in payment.

  • Paying your rent

    Universal Credit may include a payment to help you with your housing costs. This payment will be paid as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment and it is your responsibility to pay your landlord.

    If you have previously claimed Housing Benefit and have had your payments paid directly to your landlord this will be a change for you. You should inform your landlord as soon as possible in case there are any delays to your payment. 

  • Advance payments

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

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

    Find out more about Advance Payments 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, so make sure that you have the right type of account.

    Opening a current account with a bank can be difficult if you are on a lower income or if you have poor credit history. A basic bank account (see below) is a convenient alternative that you may wish to consider.

    A basic bank account

    These accounts have most of the features of a current account that allow you to pay money in and take it out, but they do not allow you to 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, which will take the worry out of budgeting.

    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 specialist 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 will be 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.

    To find out where you can use computers and online training in libraries click here.

    If you don't already have an email address you will need to set one up as you need it for communication purposes

    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.

    Help to claim

    The Citizens Advice Help to claim service offers support to help 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 service covers the period from starting a claim to receiving first full payment. Within that remit the service will provide claimants with the tailored and practical support 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