Apply for Universal Credit online
If you need help making your online claim call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 9344 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile.
Universal Credit applications are completed online. If you do not have access to a computer you can go to your local job centre, library, CAB office or come into one of the council housing offices.
If you are unable to make an online claim you will need to provide a reason for not being able to do so such as problems with reading or writing and contact the Universal Credit helpline. The application can take up to 40 minutes on the phone. Ask the person on the helpline to call you back so you don't have to pay for a long call.
The government's department for work and pensions has produced this guide to Universal credit and housing.
For more information about Universal Credit please click here Understanding Universal Credit
Money Manager Tool
Money Manager is designed just for people on Universal Credit. You can use it whether you’re making a new claim or moving to Universal Credit from existing benefits. It will help you make the most of your money
Job Centre Interview
Once you have completed your online claim you will be invited to a job centre interview where you will need to provide all of the evidence requested from you. If you do not attend this meeting your claim will not proceed to payment. If you do not think that you will be able to budget when receiving a single monthly payment you can request at the interview that the payment of the Housing Element is paid direct to your landlord to stop arrears from building up.
Payment of Universal Credit
It will take at least 5 or 6 weeks before you get your first payment. This will be paid as one lump sum directly to you. You must manage this payment and ensure that your rent is paid in full.
You can request an advance payment to cover the waiting period for Universal Credit. The advance payment is a loan - you’ll have to pay it back. The repayments will be automatically deducted from your Universal Credit payments until the advance is fully paid back. You can request an advance payment at your job centre interview or call the Universal Credit helpline above. Depending on your circumstances it is likely to take between 3 and 12 months to pay back the advance.
Keeping in contact with your landlord
If you are a council tenant please contact your Housing Officer as soon as you make a Universal Credit application. Due to the period of time it takes to process the claim arrears may increase and it is important you keep us up to date with your claim progress. As soon as you receive payment you must ensure that your rent is paid in full to avoid legal action being taken to seek possession of the property. If you experience problems with your claim you must inform your landlord immediately.
Struggling with debt
If you are experiencing problems with your Universal Credit application, struggling with debt, finding it hard to manage your money or you have been sanctioned please see our Money advice and debt counselling page for advice and support.
If you find yourself in difficulty due to the waiting period for Universal Credit you can come into one of the council housing offices and request a foodbank voucher.
Discretionary Housing Payment
If you are receiving Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit and are struggling to pay the rent you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from the Council. You can make an application if there is a shortfall in your rent that you are finding it hard to cover due to the under occupation charge, Benefit Cap, non-dependent deductions or because you have rent arrears. If you are a council tenant you can contact your Housing Officer Contact us for support with making an application. The council will decide whether a payment will be granted.