Universal Credit (UC) is a new welfare benefit for people of working age who need help with housing and living costs.  Universal Credit is combining six existing welfare benefits into one new one.  This includes replacing jobseeker’s allowance, tax credits, and housing benefit. 

This new benefit is ‘means-tested’, so your income and savings need to be below a certain amount before you can claim it.

UC is usually paid monthly, but you should be able to request for it to be paid fortnightly.

You won’t get any payments for five of six weeks after you’ve applied for Universal Credit. The DWP should ask you if you’ll need any help during this time before you get your first payment of UC.

The DWP can give you an advanced payment to tide you over while you’re waiting, but this would just be a loan.  You won’t have to pay any interest on this loan. The DWP will take back re-payments out of your UC every month for a few months, until you have paid back all of the loan.  You have to contact your local Jobcentre to ask for an advanced payment.

UC is still only slowly being ‘rolled out’ in stages, and it looks like it will be at least another couple of years before it reaches everywhere in Britain.

Check if you can claim Universal Credit in your area:
https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/universal_credit_housing_costs/universal_credit_timetable

Important: You can only apply for Universal Credit online
www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim
If you’re not on the Internet, you can go online at The Brain Charity’s information centre in Liverpool, or at your local library.

You can get benefits advice at The Brain Charity.

More help and advice