Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. Full service is being rolled out across the country and is being introduced in the St Edmundsbury Borough Council area from October 2017, and Forest Heath District Council area from September 2018.

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit

From October 2017, Universal Credit Full Service will be rolled out to the St Edmundsbury area. It will apply to the following postcodes:

Bury St Edmunds Haverhill
IP29 4 IP32 6 CB9 0
IP29 5 IP32 7 CB9 1
IP30 0 IP33 1 CB9 7
IP30 9 IP33 2 CB9 8
IP31 1 IP33 3 CB9 9
IP31 2 IP33 9 CB10 8
IP31 3   CB21 4

From September 2018, Universal Credit Full Service will be rolled out to the Forest Heath area.

What can I get?

What you can get will depend on your circumstances. The calculation starts with the standard allowance and additional elements are added on, for example if you have children and need childcare or if you also need money to help with your housing costs, this will be paid with your single monthly Universal Credit payment, unlike Housing Benefit. You can find out more at: GOV.UK - Universal Credit guides

People living in supported housing may still be able to apply for Housing Benefit. The rules regarding this are complex and if you are living in supported housing, please speak to your landlord, or contact us.

Some families, including those with more than two children, living in Universal Credit Full Service sites will still be able claim benefits including Housing Benefit.

Help towards your council tax, called Council Tax Reduction is still awarded by the council. You will need to make an application alongside your application for Universal Credit. Visit Anglia Revenues Partnership - Council Tax Reduction to find out more and apply.

With Universal Credit, there are no limits to the number of hours that you can work. Your credit payment will reduce gradually as your own earnings increase so you won't lose all your benefits at once if you are on a low income.

How is it paid?

Universal Credit is paid into your bank or building society account each month. It is a single monthly payment which means it is your responsibility to budget your expenses such as rent. You will need a bank, building society or or credit union account.

Complete the Money Advice Service - Universal Credit preparation questions for advice and to find out if there are important changes you need to make to prepare for Universal Credit. This should take about five minutes.

How do I apply?

To find out whether you are eligible and how to claim it visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit or Money Advice Service - Universal Credit

You can only apply online for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit claims are assessed using a real time information system which tracks your earnings through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. This means your monthly payment will be amended to top up your benefit should your earnings drop. You are now able to consider working on a varied hours contract, safe in the knowledge this will not create complex in and out of benefit situations.

Universal Credit applicants can benefit from a free financial health check. We have enlisted the help of local Citizens Advice to help you #makeyourmoneygofurther. Simply discuss making your money go further with your work coach, who is based in your local jobcentre, and you will be given a free and confidential meeting with the local Citizens Advice to review your household income and bills.

Universal Credit accounts will be available to view online similar to online banking. You will be able to make changes to your circumstance in real time and check payments and awards as and when you can, rather than having to phone or make an appointment with your work coach.

More information about Universal Credit, budgeting and finding work

Universal Credit information for landlords

The Department for Work and Pensions has created two guides to help landlords understand how Universal Credit will effect them and what safeguards are in place:

The Money Advice Service also has information for landlords, visit their website at: Money Advice Service - Universal Credit - Information for landlords