What Is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a way of paying benefits for people in or out of work. It brings together several different benefits and combines them into one monthly payment which goes straight into your bank account.
Universal credit will replace:
- Housing Benefit (for working age claimants)
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credits
New Benefit Claims
If you are of working age and need to apply for any of the above payments, you should claim Universal Credit instead.
Please note that you will not be able to claim help with your council tax within Universal Credit. You will need to complete a Council Tax Reduction form.
Current Benefit Claims
You will continue to receive your existing benefits for the moment until you have a major change in your circumstances or need to make a new claim for one of the benefits listed above.
If you have a major change of circumstances such as a birth, bereavement or a partner moving in you will transfer over to Universal Credit.
It is anticipated that all claimants of the above benefits will eventually transfer over to Universal Credit by 2023.
Changing from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
If you qualify for assistance with your rent this will be included with your monthly Universal Credit payment.
You will be responsible for ensuring that your rent is paid to your landlord. In Scotland you can request for payment to be made directly to your landlord for the Housing Support element but you must request this as payment will be made to you if not requested.
How To Claim
You can only claim Universal Credit online
If you don’t have access to the internet or need help to make your claim, you can:
- Visit your nearest Jobcentre Plus
- Make an appointment with Citizens Advice Bureau for assisted digital support
- Use any of the internet access points throughout the Western Isles (see link below)
Assisted Digital Support
If you need help to make your claim online or update your current claim then assistance is available from local Citizens Advice Bureau. You can arrange this by calling 0800 0232581 or by visiting your local office.
Payment of Universal Credit
Your Universal Credit will normally be paid monthly into your bank account on the same day each month.
The first payment can take around 5 weeks from the day you claim.
You can request an advance payment if you are going to have problems waiting for your payment. You can then pay this advance back over the next 12 months interest free. To apply for an advance you should contact Jobcentre Plus.