Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment, paid in arrears, for people in or out of work. It is paid into a bank account.
It is for people over 18 and under Pension Credit age. You can cacluate your pension credit age here.
If you receive money towards your rent then this will be included in your single monthly payment.
You will have to make your claim for UC online and not in a local office and you must tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) of any changes in your circumstances (including changes to your rent) or you will lose out in your payments.
Universal Credit Full Digital Service
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across Great Britain by postcode area. Whether you can claim it and the way you manage your claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances.
Since April 2016 all job centres in all parts of the country have been accepting new claims onto Universal Credit live service. These new claims were subject to several gateway conditions.
The second stage of the roll out is the conversion of the UC live service to UC full service (also known as digital service). This full service also applies to new claims only. Apart from families with three or more children, there are no gateway conditions.
- Chester went onto full service 7 July 2017
- Winsford is due 1 November
- Northwich is due 13 December
Read our series of FAQs about the Full Service below
Are you ready?
Get ready for UC by doing the following:
- Get a bank account to receive UC and then make electronic rent payments
- Draw up a monthly budget as UC is paid monthly. Get used to budgeting monthly by downloading this budget sheet.
- Save enough money to cover five weeks because that is how long it will take from starting your UC claim until you receive your money. Download this spending diary to help you keep track of day to day spending.
- Make sure you and your partner (if applicable) have three items of identification. Preferably photo ID (passport or driving licence). If not you can view the full evidence list to help you prepare for your application.
- Get online as applying for and managing UC is all done online. Visit UK online to find cheap or free access. We offer free internet access at our offices and at the Greenbank Hub and the Greenfields bungalow. You can access the internet at all libraries throughout Cheshire West & Chester
UC for Vulnerable People
Alternative payment arrangements (APAs) are an alternative way of getting payments.
- Paying the rent directly to your landlord if your arrears build up
- Making more frequent payments
- Splitting the payment within the household
APAs can also be considered if a claimant meets any of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 factors indicating need. If you fall into one of these categories then it is likely that the housing element of your UC claim can be paid directly to us.
Tier 1 factors – Highly likely/probable need for alternative payment arrangements
- Drug/alcohol and/or other addiction problems e.g. gambling
- Learning difficulties including problems with literacy and/or numeracy
- Severe/multiple debt problems
- In temporary and/or supported accommodation
- Domestic violence/abuse
- Mental health condition
- Currently in rent arrears/threat of eviction/repossession
- Claimant is young either a 16/17 year old and/or a care leaver
- Families with multiple and complex needs
Tier 2 factors - Less likely/possible need for alternative payment arrangements
- No bank account
- Third party deductions in place (e.g. for fines, utility arrears etc)
- Claimant is a refugee/asylum seeker
- History of rent arrears
- Previously homeless and/or in supported accommodation
- Other disability (e.g. physical disability, sensory impairment etc)
- Claimant has just left prison
- Claimant has just left hospital
- Recently bereaved
- Language skills (e.g. english not spoken as the ‘first language’).
- Ex service personnel
- NEETs - Not in Education, Employment or Training
Universal Credit Timeline
- If you are one of our customers you will have to claim Universal Credit from now on.
- April 2017 - child element of tax credits and Universal Credit will be limited to two children
- July 2019-2022 - managed intergration of existing benefit claims will begin
Which benefits are affected?
UC will replace:
- Housing Benefit
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income related Employment Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
UC will affect:
- Contribution based Job Seekers Allowance
- Contribution Based Employment Support Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payments
- Disabled Living Allowance for children
- Carers Allowance
- Pension Credit
Get on the net
Applications to most public services such as housing and Universal Credit must be made online. If you cannot access the internet easily from home you can also access it in the following place locally:
- Public Libraries
- Cheshire West & Chester Council Offices