Universal Credit is the new welfare benefit that replaces working-age income-related benefits. These are:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
Universal Credit is different from existing benefits in several ways.
- Universal Credit is monthly rather than weekly.
- You will need to claim Universal Credit online.
- If you have housing costs, you will no longer be able to claim Housing Benefit. Instead, Universal Credit will contain a housing costs element for your rent. This is paid to you, along with the rest of your Universal Credit, not to your landlord. It is your responsibility to pay your rent out of this money. There are different rules if you live in supported housing or temporary accommodation.
- The benefit cap (£441 per week and £296 per week) is incorporated into Universal Credit.
If you are on Universal Credit you can still claim Council Tax Reduction from the Council. The quickest way to claim for benefits is by completing the Council Tax Reduction form.
Receiving Universal Credit
Once you start receiving Universal Credit, it is not possible to return to Housing Benefit, until you are of pensionable age.
All Great Britain, including Kensington and Chelsea, now has Universal Credit.
This means that you can no longer make a new claim for Housing Benefit, unless one of the following applies:
- you, and your partner if you have one, are of pensionable age
- you live in supported accommodation
- you have been placed you in temporary accomodation by the Council
you receive Severe Disability Premium
If you already receive the benefits that Universal Credit will replace
If you are already on a benefit that will be replaced by Universal Credit, you will stay on that benefit until:
- a change in your circumstances means you will have to claim another existing benefit. If this happens you will have to claim Universal Credit instead, or
- the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) ask you to claim Universal Credit (this is likely to happen between 2020 and 2024)
Special rules for people entitled to Severe Disability Premium
Severe Disability Premium is an extra allowance paid to some people who are entitled to certain benefits, for example:
- Personal Independence Payment daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance care component at the middle or highest rate
From 16 January 2019, people entitled to Severe Disability Premium will be able to claim existing benefits. They will not be able to claim Universal Credit.
Special rules for couples where one person has reached pensionable age and the other has not:
From 15 May 2019, the age of the younger member of the couple will determine which benefits you can claim.
A couple where the younger member is under pensionable age is no longer able to claim Housing Benefit will have to claim Universal Credit to get help to pay the rent.
Where one member of a couple who were already on Housing Benefit reaches pensionable age, they will have to claim Universal Credit. Their Housing Benefit will come to an end.