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Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), not Chorley Council.
Universal Credit is replacing housing benefit.
As part of its welfare reforms the government has introduced Universal Credit. This benefit replaces 6 existing benefits, including housing benefit, with a single monthly payment. It applies to working aged claimants.
You may also be able to claim Universal Credit instead of certain benefits if you are on a low income or out of work.
View more information about Universal Credit on the gov.uk website
Universal Credit replaces:
- child tax credit
- housing benefit
- income support
- income based jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
- income related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- working tax credit.
If you are already claiming these benefits, your local Job Centre Plus or Tax Credits office will tell you when you need to move to Universal Credit.
New claims or change in circumstances
If you are making a new claim or if you receive these benefits or tax credits and your circumstances change in a way that would have meant you would make a new claim to one of these benefits, you will now need to apply for Universal Credit instead.
You will no longer be able to claim housing benefit and we will need to cancel your housing benefit claim from the date that you claim Universal Credit.
Who can get Universal Credit
You can apply for Universal Credit if you are on a low income or unemployed.
You will usually only be able to claim Universal Credit if you are aged 18 or over, but some people aged 16 or 17 can get it, depending on their circumstances.
You usually will not be able to claim Universal Credit if you are in full-time education or training, but people with certain circumstances can apply.
Pensioners do not claim Universal Credit as it is a working age benefit.
How Universal Credit is different
Universal Credit is paid differently to current benefits.
You will get a single payment for your household and it will be paid once a month into your bank or building society account.
If your Universal Credit payment includes housing costs you will need to pay this to your landlord.
Council Tax support
Universal Credit does not include Council Tax support. You must claim this from us. View how to claim Council Tax support.
When you are claiming Universal Credit, we will usually receive information directly from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) about your award. Occasionally this information is not received or is out of date and we may need to you to provide it to us.
If we need you to do this we will contact you. You will still have a responsibility to report any changes in your circumstances to us if your income differs to the amounts used in your assessment.
Universal Credit payments
You will need a bank account to receive Universal Credit, but you could also receive your Universal Credit payment into a Credit Union account.
Most high street banks now offer a basic bank account that is accessible to all.
Further information regarding basic bank accounts can be found on the Money Advice Service website.
Supported and temporary accommodation
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and live in supported or temporary accommodation you will still need to claim housing benefit if you want help paying your rent. View how to claim for housing benefit.
You will need to provide us with your Universal Credit letter when you first receive this and provide the letter every time your Universal Credit award changes. You should inform us of any further changes in your circumstances.
What can I do if the housing element of my Universal Credit does not meet my full rent?
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) can help people in a temporary situation where they need extra help with their housing costs.
To be eligible for a payment you must be claiming housing benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit and we must be satisfied that you are in need of extra financial help.
If there is a shortfall in the amount of Universal Credit you receive towards your rent and your actual rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made to help you top up your housing element should you be suffering financial hardship.
You will need to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) online.
Discretionary Housing Payments can also be used to help towards a rent deposit or moving costs should you need to move to more suitable accommodation, that you can afford within your own budget.