Universal Credit support
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit to cover living costs and housing costs for working-age people who are unemployed or on a very low income. You make and manage your claims online and receive a monthly payment. If you do not have access to the internet, free PCs are available to use at Hemel Job Centre Plus, local libraries, the South Hill Centre and some community centres.
Universal Credit replaced the following means-tested benefits:
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related)
Who can claim?
- Working-age claimants only
- If you have reached the age where you can get Pension Credit, you will need to claim Housing Benefit
- If you are part of a mixed age couple (one of you is pensionable age, one still working age) you should seek specialist advice about which benefit to claim
- Those in temporary accommodation or hostel accommodation will need to claim Housing Benefit for housing costs and Universal Credit for living costs
- If you are already claiming a legacy benefit (such as Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit) there are currently no plans to move you to Universal Credit unless you have a change of circumstances
- If you are already claiming Housing Benefit and you move house within Dacorum (and this is the only change in your circumstances) you would not need to claim Universal Credit
- If you are working, but on a low income you may still be entitled to some Universal Credit
- Joint tenants each need to claim Universal Credit
- Couples need to make a claim for Universal Credit together, but the payment is only made to one person
- If you have a spare bedroom, Universal Credit may not cover all of your rent costs
- If there is someone (other than a partner) in your household aged over 21, Universal Credit may not cover all of the rent as there may be a deduction in respect of this person (for example, a non-dependent child)
- Universal Credit is paid directly to you in arrears on a monthly basis. You should receive your first payment five weeks after making your claim
- You can get an advance payment of up to 100 per cent of your expected monthly payment but this will be a loan and you will have to pay it back over a year
- The housing costs element of Universal Credit can be paid directly to your landlord but only in exceptional circumstances
- If you are already claiming another benefit and you want to claim Universal Credit you can. However, you should seek independent advice first
- If you are already getting Housing Benefit and this changes to Universal Credit, you may be entitled to an extra two weeks’ Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit cannot be backdated unless there is a valid reason that you did not submit your claim at the time
- From 5 April 2021, there are 52 weeks, including four rent-free weeks. Universal Credit will only be paid for 48 weeks of the year.
If you need help to pay your Council Tax, you will need to make a separate claim for Council Tax Support. This is because Universal Credit does not cover Council Tax. You can find out more about Council Tax Support on our Council Tax pages.
Anyone claiming Universal Credit will need a bank account, an email address, access to a computer, proof of your income, your tenancy agreement and proof of your housing costs.
If your rent account is in arrears and you are claiming Universal Credit and/or Housing Benefit, you will still need to pay extra to clear the debt. Contact your Housing Income Officer to make a payment arrangement.