Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs

Many 54North Homes customers now receive Universal Credit Service and eventually all working age benefit claimants will move onto this combined benefit. It replaces:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

What’s different with Universal Credit?

  • It's online so you need an e-mail address to claim. You will need to keep checking your account frequently to manage your claim.
  • Payments are made directly into a bank, building society, post office or credit union account. They are made monthly in arrears.
  • It's a single monthly payment that combines your income-related living expenses including rent. This means you will have to budget, make your money last longer and pay your rent. If you need help with Council Tax, you will need to make a separate claim for Council Tax Support, this is done through your Council.
  • Your housing costs (the amount you get towards your rent) may not cover all the rent you have to pay, and you may need to make up the shortfall – especially if you are affected by the bedroom tax.

FAQ's about Universal Credit

You can get an advance payment from the jobcentre to help cover the gap between the date you claim and the date you get your first payment (usually around six weeks). If you haven’t already, you can arrange for an advance payment of UC from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). This is a loan that must be paid back within 12 months, reducing the amount of UC you will get in the future. You’ll need to think carefully about whether you can manage with a reduction on your monthly UC payment.

In some circumstances, you can ask to have your Universal Credit paid differently to help you manage your money. You can get paid every two weeks instead of every month. If you have difficulty managing your rent payments, you can also ask about getting your rent paid straight to 54North Homes instead of it being paid to you, these are known as Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA).

The Universal Credit application is online. If you struggle to complete it, please speak to your Income Officer for help in filling it in.

If you’re expected to look for work you’ll get an online account to record any change of circumstances and activities relating to your job searches. Your work coach will speak to you through your online journal, too.

You need to be honest with your work coach. Let them know what you can and can’t do. Tell them about any health issues or difficulties you will have applying for jobs or taking job offers. It’s important that your work coach has realistic expectations of what you are able to do, and that you understand your claimant commitment. 

Make sure you report all changes in circumstances via your journal, or through the UC Helpline: 0800 328 5644.

Failure to report changes, including changes in your rent and household, might result in underpayments or overpayments, and you could get a civil penalty of £50.

First make sure you’re claiming any other benefits you’re entitled to, including Council Tax Reduction or health-related benefits like Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Our 54North Homes Income Officers can help; whether it’s signposting you towards budgeting and debt advice, applying for grants or knowing your entitlements to benefits!

Council Tax Benefit (or Council Tax Reduction), is not paid as part of Universal Credit. You will need to make a separate claim for help towards your council tax. Please contact your local council for more information.

Get in touch with us

For help and information about how to apply for Universal Credit or or any of other benefit queries, please contact us

You can also contact the gov.uk Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644