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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new, simpler, single monthly payment merging six benefits into one. It is for working age claimants.

About Universal Credit

You can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or are unemployed. You'll usually only be able to claim if you are aged 18 or over, but some people aged 16 or 17 can claim, depending on their circumstances.

Universal Credit replaces the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit


Universal Credit was introduced in stages across the country. From 24 October 2018, all working age claimants in the Guildford Borough with up to two children making a new claim, had to claim Universal Credit.

From 1 February 2019, households with three or more children, making a new claim, will need to claim Universal Credit.

From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over State Pension Age and the other under that age), making a new claim, will need to claim Universal Credit.

Whether you can claim, depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.

How you will be paid

Your universal credit payment will be paid monthly into your bank or building society account. If you currently claim benefits, Universal Credit will be paid differently to how you're currently paid. 

You can ask for an advance to help you manage through the first month until your Universal Credit payment is made, please speak to your Work Coach to find out more.

Any help you get with your rent will be included within your Universal Credit payment and you'll then need to pay your landlord yourself.

Find out more about Universal Credit.

Preparing for Universal Credit

Before you can receive payments of Universal Credit, you'll need to make the following preparations:

1. You'll need to have a bank or building society account if you do not already have one.

2. Check if your account is suitable for managing benefit payments on the Money Advice Service website.

3. Ensure your bank or building society account is able to set up automated payments e.g direct debit and/or standing order.

4. You'll need access to the internet as you'll need to apply and manage your claim on line. You can visit your local library to find a course on how to use a computer. See UK Online Centres for details of where to get online for free.    

5. You will need to have or set up an email address.

6.  Universal Credit is paid monthly so make sure you budget on a monthly rather than weekly basis. Read the Money Advice Service page on how to budget for a monthly Universal Credit payment.

7.  Use the Money Advice Service's budget planner to work out how much money you will have coming in each month and what you need to spend it on.

Setting up automated rent payments

You need to pay your rent in full and, to avoid falling behind, you can set up automated payments. 

If you live in a Council property, check that your bank or building society account allows payment by direct debit, as this is the easiest way for us to receive payments.

If you live in Housing Association or privately rented accommodation, speak to your landlord now to see how they would like you to pay in future.

How to Claim

Check out if you are eligible to apply for Universal Credit.  You'll need your National Insurance number and your postcode to check.

If you're already claiming any benefits, you don't need to do anything - you'll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.  If you have a change of circumstances, it might mean you can't make a new claim for a legacy benefit. If you're in this situation, you might have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credit will be managed online through the Department of Work and Pensions. Please read the Government's how to claim guide. You'll need to claim online and check payments and updates through your online account.