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Universal Credit

Get ready for Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people who are on a low income or are out of work. It is a benefit paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) through the Job Centre Plus. The new benefit is currently being launched nationally and is now available to people who live in Sandwell.

To begin with, only single people without dependent children who are making a new claim will apply for Universal Credit. If you have a partner or dependent children you should claim the appropriate benefit for your situation (the Jobcentre will advise you what this is). If you’re already claiming benefits you don’t need to do anything - you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

You should apply for any other benefit separately, this includes Local Council Tax Reduction  and Discretionary Housing Payments which should be claimed from Sandwell Council.

If you are of working age you will need to apply for Universal Credit rather than Housing Benefit. However, there are the following exceptions where you should still claim Housing Benefit:

  • If you have three or more dependent children
  • If you live in exempt or temporary accommodation (as defined by Sandwell Council)

If you are already claiming benefits you don't need to do anything - you'll be told when Universal Credit will affect you. 

The way that you claim and manage your Universal Credit will be new.

The changes include:

  • Universal Credit must be claimed online
  • It will be paid as a single monthly payment, transferred directly into a bank account.
  • If you are entitled to help towards your rent (this used to be your Housing Benefit) this will be included in your single monthly payment and you will need to pay your landlord yourself.

For more information:

Visit the gov.uk website or contact the Universal Credit helpline - Telephone: 0345 600 0723.

For support with claiming Universal Credit please contact our Welfare Rights team