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

It 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)

It 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 the amount your paid lowers 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.

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 receive help from either:

  • the Housing Benefit department
  • DWP 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
  • you will receive help with your rent (housing benefit) from the Benefits department at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

For further information, please visit our Can I claim Benefit page.

For all other circumstances you will receive help with your rent through Universal Credit. You will need to claim 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

Citizens Advice can help you make a claim online. For more information call 01702 456352.

Contact Benefits

Telephone: 01702 215001

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