Universal Credit (UC) is the 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.

Important: You can only apply for Universal Credit online
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 or your local Jobcentre.

If you need help applying, you can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644, Textphone: 0800 328 1344. Monday-Friday, 8.00am - 6.00pm. Calls to these numbers are free.

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.

Problems applying

It can be difficult just applying for Universal Credit, but you can get benefits advice from The Brain Charity, and from these organisations listed here.

Problems with accessibility

Problems with sanctions

If you're deaf or hard of hearing you'll always get an interpreter at a tribunal. If you can't understand English, you might be able to get an interpreter from your local council.