What is Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It is being rolled out across the country and is live in Southend-on-Sea.

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Income Support 
  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance 
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit is calculated as a basic allowance for a single person or a couple plus additional amounts for:

  • each child or young person you are responsible for (with extra amounts if they are disabled) 
  • child care costs 
  • if you have a ’limited capability for work’ (This means that you are unable to work due to an illness or a disability) 
  • if you have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person 
  • housing costs (mortgage interest payments and rent payments if you are unemployed)

Universal Credit has been designed so that it is payable whether you are working or not. If you are on a low income and are moving in and out of work Universal Credit will remain in payment and be adjusted to suit your new financial circumstances. As your income increases your Universal Credit amount decreases until you no longer need it.

You will get the full amount possible if your household has no other income and has less than £6000 savings. There will be no award if your savings are over £16000.

Universal Credit is paid once a month and paid direct into a bank account. Your claim and your account will be accessed and managed online.

Do I claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

 If you need help with your housing costs you will either receive help from:

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Housing Benefit department; or

Department for Working and Pensions Universal Credit department

If you:

  • are a single person of pension age; or
  • are a couple both over pension age; or
  • are living in a property where you receive support from your landlord or an agency on behalf of your landlord; or
  • are living in temporary accommodation housed by Southend on Sea Borough Council; or
  • have been in receipt of Income Support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance Income Related or Housing Benefit within the last month of needing to claim Universal Credit; and you have been entitled to Severe Disablement Premium as part of any of the incomes listed above.

you will receive help with your rent through the housing benefit scheme administered by the Benefits department from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. For further information about Housing Benefit and the restrictions that you may face when applying please visit our Can I claim Benefit page.

For all other circumstances you will receive help with your rent through the new scheme Universal Credit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. Please visit our What is Universal Credit page for important information on Universal Credit and how to claim it.

How to make a claim for Universal Credit?

If you fall under the group of households that should be claiming Universal Credit you will need to do this online as Universal Credit is claimed and maintained online.

There is a helpline which is available. You should contact the helpline if:

  • you have any questions
  • your circumstances change and you’re already getting Universal Credit

The Citizens Advice can provide support for those making a claim for Universal Credit with all aspects of claiming digitally. Call 01702 456352.

Page last updated: 21/05/2019