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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is new benefit which covers help with income or paying your rent. 

Universal Credit is managed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and replaces 6 existing benefits:

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

If you already receive any of these benefits you do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit. 

The aim of Universal Credit is to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work.

Universal credit is paid as a single monthly payment, directly into your bank account, similar to a wage.

It also includes an amount for your housing costs (rent payment). You are responsible for paying rent to your landlord.

Applying for Universal Credit

You apply online for Universal Credit through the Gov.UK website. 

To apply you must:

  • be under pension credit age – you can check this online
  • have an email address
  • have a bank account
  • have a contact number, preferably a mobile number. 

A claim takes about 40 minutes for a single person, and an hour for a couple. If you do not have a computer you can use those made available free of charge at our offices. 

Apply for Universal Credit

If you need help with your claim for Universal Credit then you can contact Citizens Advice Help to Claim Service National Helpline. Advisers are available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

  • telephone: 0800 144 84 44.

You can also get help online to help you to develop your computer skills. Some websites can offer help with free courses on using a computer, browsing the web, sending an email and finding work online. You can also view guidance on how to make a claim for Universal Credit online.

You can get help from Learn My Way.

Universal Credit and our tenants

If you are a tenant of ours you may have questions about Universal Credit and how the housing element is paid. 

I am renting my home from Ashfield District Council. Can I ask for the housing element (rent) to be paid direct to them?

Normally the housing element is paid direct to you as part of your Universal Credit entitlement.

However, under some circumstances the Department for Work and Pensions will agree to alternative payment arrangements, such as paying your landlord direct. For example, if you are struggling with rent arrears.

Ask your work coach to make payments direct or discuss the situation with your landlord who will help you to make this request.

What if I fall behind with my rent?

If you don’t pay your rent on time you risk losing your home. If you do fall behind with your rent payments it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss this.

You may be able to come to an agreement to pay what you owe and take steps to stop your rent arrears increasing. This is particularly important if you have recently had a change in circumstance which has left you short of money.

We are here to help so if you can’t pay your rent, please contact us straight away. If you are on a low income or benefits, you may be able to get some or all of your rent paid for you. Find out more about what to do if you're having problems paying your rent