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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new working age benefit that is being introduced across the country to replace the following 6 existing benefits.

  • Housing Benefit
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Support

From 25 July 2018 Universal Credit Full Service is being rolled out to the Rochford District.  If you are working age and want to make a new claim for help with your housing costs or any of the other benefits above you will need to claim Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions.

If you are of State Pension age, you will not be affected and should still claim Housing Benefit from Rochford District Council.

If you currently receive Housing Benefit and are thinking about applying for Universal Credit, please ensure that by doing so you will not be worse off. In some situations you may find your Universal Credit award is not as generous as the legacy benefits you currently receive. 

Please note that once you switch from claiming legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit you cannot switch back. 

Before you make an application for Universal Credit please visit 

What happens if I am already receiving Housing Benefit?

You do not need to do anything if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit.  You will eventually have to make a claim for Universal Credit but you will be told when you need to do this.

Should I claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

You should still claim Housing Benefit if

  1. You are a pensioner – Universal Credit is a working age benefit and you will be able to claim Housing Benefit if you have reached state pension age.  
  2. You have 3 or more children.  Families with 3 or more children will still be able to claim Housing Benefit until January 2019.
  3. You are living in supported accommodation.  If you rent from a charity or housing association and receive care or support as part of your rent then you may be able to claim Housing Benefit.  Please speak to your landlord for more advice.
  4. You are living in temporary accommodation provided by the council because of  homelessness.

Council Tax Support

If you are liable to pay Council Tax then you will still be able to claim Council Tax Support from the Council.

Are you ?

If you are unsure please Check your State Pension age - GOV.UK.

How do I claim Universal Credit?

Claims for Universal Credit are made online here.

Help making your claim is available from:

  • If you are experiencing financial difficulty, you may wish to contact the Citizens Advice for assistance. Residents can phone Citizens Advice on freephone 0808 278 7877 or see for other ways to contact.
  • Peabody (formerly Family Mosaic) who run a drop in service at Rayleigh Jobcentre twice a week on Monday between 3pm and 5pm and Thursday between 2pm and 5pm.

There is also a Universal Credit helpline which is available.  You can contact the helpline if you have any questions or your circumstances change and you are already getting Universal Credit.

The Universal Credit helpline is 0345 600 0723.

What will I need before I apply?

Before you make your claim you will need to make sure that you have the following information:

  • Your national insurance number
  • Details of the bank or building society account you would like your Universal Credit paid into
  • Your rent or tenancy agreement (if you have one)
  • Details of any capital or savings you have
  • Details of any income you receive

How will Universal Credit be paid?

Universal Credit is paid in arrears directly into your bank or building society account.  It is a single monthly payment which means it is your responsibility to budget to pay your expenses, which includes your rent.

Universal Credit can be paid directly to your landlord but only if you have rent arrears or you are unable to manage your own finances.  If you require the housing element of your award to be paid directly to your landlord you will need to apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).