Universal Credit - Overview

Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 with the aim of simplifying the benefit system.

Universal Credit affects working age claimants only and replaced the following six legacy benefits:

  • Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Housing Benefit (HB)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Working Tax Credits (WTC)

Universal Credit is claimed online and is a single monthly payment that is paid in arrears. The first payment is normally received one month and seven days following a claim being submitted. The payment is made up of an individual’s living costs, housing costs and in some cases childcare costs.

A claimant’s housing costs will be paid directly to the claimant therefore when you claim Universal Credit you must advise that you pay rent to a local authority.

The Council can request an Alternative Payment Arrangement if there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family. This means that your housing costs would be paid directly to the Council.

If you require support with your Council Tax, then you must make a claim for Council Tax Reduction separately as this will be paid by the Council. 

Apply for Universal Credit

If you are a Council tenant and require support with your Universal Credit claim then please contact Sandwell Council’s Rents Team on 0121 737 5148 between Monday to Thursday 9am – 5.30pm and 9am to 5pm on a Friday.

If you live in the private rented sector and require support with your Universal Credit claim then please contact our Welfare Rights Team on 0121 569 3158, Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm.