About Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age. It is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Universal Credit is paid monthly and includes help towards your housing costs. This means that rent will go to you instead of your landlord. If you live with your partner, there will be 1 monthly payment to both of you, so you will need to decide which account you would like your Universal Credit to be paid into each month. 

You must make and manage your Universal Credit claim online. Information about how much you will be paid and reporting any changes of circumstance will be done online through your Universal Credit account. 

Universal Credit replaces:

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

It does not replace Council Tax Reduction or free school meals. You should claim these separately. 

Find out more about Universal Credit

Who can claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is available across the entire borough for most working age residents. 

If you are already claiming benefits, you do not need to claim Universal Credit until it is time to make a new claim for benefits, or until the Department for Work and Pensions request that you claim Universal Credit. You will be asked to claim Universal Credit between July 2019 and 2023.

You cannot claim Universal Credit, but should instead claim Housing Benefit and other benefits you are entitled to, if you:

  • are of Pension Credit age
  • are receiving or have received the Severe Disability Premium within the last month

You can claim both housing benefit and Universal Credit if you live in:

  • council or housing association temporary accommodation
  • supported accommodation, where you receive care, support or supervision

If you're unsure if your accommodation is supported or temporary, contact your housing or support worker. 

Find out if you can claim Universal Credit 

Apply for Universal Credit

You will need a bank or building society account to receive Universal Credit. If you have difficulty opening an account, most banks offer a free basic bank account. 

It will be your responsibility to pay rent to your landlord. You will need your rent and service charge details when you claim, which you can get on your Camden Account or by contacting your rent officer on 020 7974 4444.

Apply for Universal Credit

Universal Credit is paid monthly. It is likely that you will have to wait  weeks before you receive your first payment. Visit a money advice organisation for budgeting, benefit and debt advice.

Help with you application

For more information about eligibility, how to claim and the information you will need in order to apply visit gov.uk/universal-credit. You can also watch the Universal Credit in action videos for information on how to apply.

Additional help with money

To claim any of the below, speak to your Job Centre Plus work coach or contact the Universal Credit free phone helpline on 0800 328 5644

Universal Credit Advance payment

It usually takes 5 weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment. If you need help with money during this time, you might be able to get an advance on your first payment. This is a loan which will be paid back automatically across a 12 month period, the money will be deducted each month from your Universal Credit payment. The Department of Work and Pensions will be able to tell you whether you can get an advanced payment on the same day that you apply.

Alternative Payment Arrangement

If you are having difficulties managing your Universal Credit payments, you might be able to get an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA). There are 3 types of alternative payments which you can request:

  • direct payment of rent to landlords (known as managed payments)
  • splitting of payment between a couple
  • more frequent payment of benefit

Budgeting Advance

A Budgeting Advance is a loan that helps with emergency costs, such as replacing a broken cooker, paying for travel costs if you are starting a new job or staying in work. You will repay it through deductions to your Universal Credit payments. Visit the governments universal credit website for more information about eligibility and how to apply.

Receiving Universal Credit and need advice?

We know many people are concerned about Universal Credit changes and we're here to support you.

If you are a council tenant claiming Universal Credit and are worried about paying your rent, speak to your Rent Officer first on 020 7974 4444. 

Alternatively, you can contact Citizens Advice Camden, who we are working with to support residents: 

  • if you are already claiming Universal Credit, phone the Universal Credit SmartMoney helpline by calling 0300 303 0308 (Tuesday 2 to 6pm and Thursday 1 to 4pm) 
  • get advice about moving to Universal Credit and other benefit advice by calling 0300 330 1157 (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm) 
  • drop in for advice

Getting online

Once you claim Universal Credit you will need to manage your claim online, information about your payment, reporting changes of circumstance and communicating with your work coach can be done online via your Universal Credit account. If you would like to learn more about accessing the internet and gaining new skills visit the Camden Adult Community Learning page. They offer drop–in sessions, workshops and courses on a host of subjects including computing and internet skills. These skills will help you increase your confidence about accessing your Universal Credit account.

You can also use the Money Manager tool to make the most of your Universal Credit, and visit our recommended money and benefit resources for further help and support.