Universal credit

Universal Credit is a new single payment for working age people looking for work or who are on a low income. It is being gradually introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Universal Credit is gradually replacing the following benefits with a single payment:

  • Housing benefit
  • Income support
  • Income based job seeker’s allowance
  • Income related employment and support allowance
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit

Most working aged housing benefit claimants will move onto universal credit in a phased way.


Universal Credit is paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account. It will be paid once a month in arrears, and not weekly. If you do not have a bank account you will need to set one up.

You will not normally be able to have the housing component paid directly to your landlord, so you will be responsible for managing rent payments along with other household bills.

Claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in exceptional circumstances. If you are eligible to claim you need to make your claim straight away.

Before you claim

Universal Credit scheme is an online digital service only. If you fall into any of the exceptions listed below, you may need to claim another benefit.

Apply for housing benefit if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are a pensioner - if you have a partner, from 15/05/2019 both of you must have reached pension age - there are some exceptions
  • You live in supported accommodation - you will need to claim universal credit for living costs and housing benefit for your housing costs
  • You start living in temporary accommodation you will need to claim universal credit for living costs and housing benefit for you housing costs
  • You are entitled to a severe disability premium as part of any of the following benefits that you receive or you have had a break of claim of less than one month and still satisfy the qualifying conditions for a severe disability premium
    • Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based)
    • Employment Support Allowance (Income Related)
    • Income Support.

If any of the exceptions above apply to you, apply for housing benefit. You can lose out if you delay.

How to claim

Apply for Universal Credit

If you have any queries about your claim you can call the Universal Credit helpline:

  • Full service: 0800 328 5644
  • Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Find out more about universal credit and advance payments

Help with council tax

Help with council tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. You must apply for council tax reduction through the council's benefits service, and provide any evidence needed to support your claim. If you don’t make a council tax reduction claim with Ealing council when you apply for universal credit you may lose benefit.

Financial help and personal budgeting support

If you are struggling to manage your rental costs, need short term help with your rent, are worried about managing your money, need help with budgeting or you're already in debt, the council’s local welfare assistance team may be able to help.