About Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age and for mixed aged couples (where one member of a couple is working age and the other member has reached Pension Credit age). It is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 

Universal Credit is paid monthly and usually includes help towards your housing costs. This means that an amount for rent will be paid to you instead of to your landlord; you will have to pay your landlord yourself. In exceptional circumstances part of your Universal Credit may be paid direct to 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 - except Housing Benefit for Specified Accommodation and Temporary Accommodation

Universal Credit does not replace:

  • Council Tax Support
  • free school meals.

You must claim both of these separately:

Apply for Council Tax Support 

Apply for free school meals

Find out more about Universal Credit

Who can claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is available for most working age residents and mixed aged couples (where one member of a couple is working age and the other has reached Pension Credit age).  From the 15th of May 2019 mixed aged couples that need to make a new claim for benefit will need to claim Universal Credit instead of claiming Pension Credit or Housing Benefit. 

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

  • are single and of Pension Credit age or
  • are a member of a couple and both you and your partner are of Pension Credit age. 

You can claim both Univeral Credit (for day to day living expenses) and Housing Benefit (for help with rent) if you live in:

  • Temporary Accommodation provided by the Council or a Housing Association or  
  • Specified Accommodation where you receive care, support or supervision.

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

For more information about Housing Benefit, see Housing Benefit

Find out if you can claim Universal Credit 

Apply for and manage 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 your application

All residents can contact Citizens Advice Camden for dedicated support to make a claim.

Drop in for advice:

  • Kentish Town Job Centre, 178 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AG: Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 1pm
  • Camden Council, 5 Pancras Square, N1C 4AG: Wednesday, 10am to 1pm
  • Kentish Town Library, 262-266 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AA: Friday, 1.30 to 3.30pm

Call for free

You can contact a Citizens Advice adviser through the free Help to Claim phone service:
0800 144 8444 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm)

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.

Manage your Universal Credit

Sign into your Universal Credit account

Camden Adult Community Learning offer a range of free computer courses which can help you to manage your money online. 

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: 

  • get advice about  Universal Credit and other benefit advice by calling Adviceline: 0808 278 7835 (free from mobiles and landlines) Monday – Friday 10am – 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.