What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new benefit payment for people under Pension Credit age that will come into full effect in 2023. It will provide one payment which takes into account housing, employment, children and income.
Universal Credit is one benefit with one calculation. It replaces these working-age means-tested benefits:
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
Universal Credit is being introduced in various ways across the country. In Newcastle the full service is ready and available through the Jobcentre Plus offices which cover Newcastle.
How will Universal Credit be paid?
To find out more about how Universal Credit will be paid visit the Newcastle City Council website.
Please note that payments are made one month in arrears and it may be up to five weeks before you receive your first payment. It is possible to get discretionary advance payments if you meet certain criteria. The housing costs element of Universal Credit which replaces Housing Benefit for tenants, will normally be paid direct to you. You then have to pay the landlord.
To receive Universal Credit you will need an account with a bank or a building society. Post Office card accounts may be too limited for Universal Credit.
If you can’t use such an account, Jobcentre Plus may use a Payment Exception Service or may be a Credit Union.
Get more details from the Money Advice Service including how to get an account and what they involve.
Am I eligible for Universal Credit?
Visit Gov.uk to see if you are eligible to claim.
Your benefit(s) may be limited by the ‘benefit cap’. For more details see the welfare benefits article.
Entitlement and budgeting.
Visit the Newcastle City Council’s how to calculate your benefit entitlement online, including Universal Credit.
Jobcentre Plus work coaches will also offer help with budgeting because of the changes to how benefit is paid to your household.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
You can only claim Universal Credit online.
Jobcentre Plus provides a telephone number for help and advice on making an online claim which is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.
- The Universal Credit number is: 0800 328 5644
Once the online claim is made, you will be sent details of an appointment at the Jobcentre Plus office to confirm your details in the claim, perhaps help with verification and agree appropriate work related activity.
There are several ways to get support and advice:
- If you get stuck while you’re making your Universal Credit claim, a helpline is available Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm. The helpline number is 0800 328 9344.
- To book a session for support to complete a Universal Credit claim online, phone 0191 277 8833 or 0191 277 8834 to speak to a member of the Assisted Digital Support team
- YHN tenants can also seek support from YHN.
- You can contact your local Jobcentre Plus.
It is worth getting support and building your confidence to get online, as you will need to manage your Universal Credit online for the forseeable future.
If you don’t have internet access at home, visit our page on where to access computer support in Newcastle. There are also a number of computer clubs/sessions which will help you to develop your IT skills. Visit our events and activities section and select the computer category.
For more information read Newcastle City Council’s information and advice on Universal Credit.
Help with health costs on Universal Credit
The rules for help with health costs if you receive Universal Credit can be found on NHS.UK.
There is a more general advice page about eligibility for healthcare costs including prescriptions on this NHS.UK.
Where can I get benefits advice?
It can be useful to speak with someone about the Universal Credit and how it may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help guide you through the process such as:
- Citizens Advice Newcastle (CAN)
- Newcastle Welfare Rights Service have self help material on their website
- Search Newcastle give benefits advice to older people in the West of Newcastle
Visit newcastle.gov.uk for more benefit advice services available across Newcastle.
Other Useful Information
For information about budgeting and managing money read our Managing your money article on Information NOW.
Information NOW’s Telephones article has details of a more affordable telephone service if you are in receipt of certain benefits for example, Pension Credit, Income Support, Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
You can apply for a Budgeting Advance if you are in financial difficulty and are eligible for Universal Credits.
Last updated: July 8, 2020