Universal Credit

Most frequent questions and answers

Universal credit is a new benefit that replaces 6 old benefits, known as ‘Legacy Benefits’.
Universal credit is paid monthly and combines your living allowances, support for children, and housing costs. You can also get allowance included if you have a long term health condition.
It is managed by the department of work and pensions.

There are six legacy benefits. They are Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Working Tax Credit (WTC), Child Tax Credit (CTC), Housing Benefit (HB).

Unless you have a good reason (health problem) you will need to make the UC claim online and manage it through an online journal.

You will need to remember your username, password, and answers to two security questions that you will be asked on login and if you phone them.

If you have a problem and you need to speak to someone you can call universal credit on 0800 328 5644. If you call off the mobile number saved to your account it will take you through to the case manager of your account.

Yes. There are a number of benefits outside of UC which you may be entitled to. Some examples are below;

Council Tax Support. If you live in the London Borough of Barnet and you are liable for council tax and think you will be entitled to council tax support you can make a claim by filling in the online form for housing benefit and council tax. Even if you are not entitled to the housing benefit because of universal credit payments then you still need to fill the housing benefit and council tax support application form.

If you live in Barnet You can find it here – Council Tax Support Claim Form.

Other benefits outside of UC include; Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Child Benefit.

The best thing to do is to complete a Benefit Calculator and it will advise you of what you will be able to claim.

If you are a full time student then generally you are not entitled to universal credit. However in specific situations you will be. Your best option is to complete a Benefit Calculator and it will advise you on what you would be able to claim.

As long as you meet the other criteria then yes. However you may not be entitled to child element for all 3.

If your children were all born before 6th April 2017 you will get a child element for every child.

If you have 3 or more children and one or more are born after the 6th April 2017 you will only get child element for 2 of your children.

There are some special circumstances where this is not applied.

Eligibility for universal credit based on nationality is the same criteria as for legacy benefits. Eligibility based around nationality can be complicated.

If you are British national, Irish or part of the common travel area, and you have not lived outside of the UK within the last 2 years you are more than likely to be eligible.

If you are European national from a EU state then until the end of December 2020 there are 2 laws running parallel with each other. The new (and continuing) legislation is under the ‘European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)’. We would strongly suggest that you apply for this, you can get help with this through citizens advice Barnet by calling 0208 201 7725 or emailing Barnet CA EUSS or make your own claim. If you are successful and are granted settled status you will entitled for benefits under the EUSS. If you are granted ‘pre-settled status’ you would not be entitled to benefits under this legislation.

The Pre-existing legislation will be in place until the end of December 2020, and so you can still be eligible for benefits under this. To be eligible under this you would need to be accessing your treaty rights.

If you are from a country other than that mentioned your eligibility will be conditional on what your status in the UK is and whether you have recourse to public funds. If you don’t have any status currently you will not be eligible for benefits.

All of the UK is now covered by Universal Credit. This means that if you are working age (between 18 and pensionable age) and you need to make any NEW claim for a legacy benefit you will need to apply for universal credit (in most situations).

The only times where this is not the case is;

  1. If you are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium on legacy benefits
  2. You would be entitled to new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
  3. You are moving into temporary accommodation or specified accommodation and this is the only change
  4. Your only change is that you are moving properties but within the same area where you are already receiving housing benefit.

You are already in receipt of child tax credit and you become eligible for working tax credit.

With universal credit you will need to make a joint claim. To do this both individuals need to fill in an application online. When you are asked the question about being single or a couple, when you select couple it will ask you about a joining code. One of you will select that you need a joining code and the other will select to enter the joining code. This will then connect the claim.

If you are in a couple you would need to make a joint claim for UC, even if your partner would not be entitled. This will prevent problems with the housing costs and other elements.

Citizens Advice Barnet provide support to make new claims for universal credit. You can get an appointment by phoning 0800 144 8444.

If you have already have a claim and need extra support with managing that claim we can help, contact us on 0208 359 2442.

At the end of the claim for universal credit it asks for you to validify your identity online. If you are having problems (which most people do) there’s a link below which says ‘I can’t do this online’. It will ask you to confirm what documents you have got and then direct you to make a phone call to book an identity appointment.

It takes 6 weeks from when you initially submit your claim for universal credit until you are first paid.

If this is a problem then you are able to claim an Advance Payment (AP) which you can get paid very quickly up to your potential full allowance. Be aware that this is a loan. The loan needs to be paid back within a 12 month period and will be deducted from your future payments until it is repaid.

If you were on housing benefit directly before moving onto universal credit you will receive a 2 week run on of housing benefit once your universal credit has started. This would mean you would be entitled to Housing benefit and Universal credit for the initial 2 weeks of you UC claim.

One of the aims of Universal Credit is to help people to take control of their own money and to make their own payments. This means that UC are more reluctant to make payments directly to your landlord, if they think you are capable of doing it yourself they will not make a direct payment to the landlord.

However there is something called ‘Alternative Payment Arrangements’ (APAs). APAs can be used in situations where you are not able to manage your own payments because of specific vulnerabilities. You can find a list of vulnerabilities here.

Be aware that even if you do meet the vulnerability requirements you are still not guaranteed an APA. They are always down to the discretion of your work coach.

You can also use alternative payment arrangements to request to be paid more frequently or to be paid to two different people.  

If your question is not answered then feel free to give us a call (0208 359 2442) or email.