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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment that replaces some other benefits. You may be able to claim Universal Credit if you're on a low income or out of work.

Claiming Universal Credit will change how you manage your money. Before you apply, read Universal Credit - what you need to know which explains everything you must put in place before making a claim.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. It is issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Universal Credit works differently from other benefits - it's important to know the differences.

The biggest differences are:

  • You'll get a single payment each month, rather than weekly or fortnightly.
  • It will be paid direct into a single bank account, as a single household payment.
  • Instead of getting a separate housing benefit payment, your housing costs will be paid as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent to your landlord.
  • You can only apply for Universal Credit online. There are no paper versions of the form available - if for any particular reason, you can't complete the online form, you can get help to apply.

What benefits will it replace?

It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now:

  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

Who can claim?

To get Universal Credit you must:

  • be 18 or over
  • be under State Pension credit age - check your state pension credit age
  • live in the UK
  • not have savings over £16,000
  • not have three or more children in your household

When can you claim Universal Credit?

If you already receive one of the benefits that Universal Credit is due to replace, continue to do so as normal until you are told that you need to claim Universal Credit instead.

In County Durham, Universal Credit is being rolled out for most working age people from October 2017. It will initially affect you if you are making a new claim. When it will affect you, depends on your job centre area.

Job centre areaDate you can claim Universal Credit from
Peterlee, SeahamOctober 2017
Bishop Auckland, Consett, Crook, StanleyDecember 2017
Chester-le-Street, Durham, Newton Aycliffe, SpennymoorJune 2018


If you are linked to a job centre outside the county, the date you can claim Universal Credit from may be earlier.

How to claim Universal Credit

You have to claim Universal Credit online through - claim Universal Credit online.

Learn My Way: Universal Credit - a how to guide

The following video shows you how to complete the online claim form.

Before you claim

Before you make your claim, you should have the following information:

  • your (and your partner's) National Insurance number
  • your postcode
  • your landlord's name and address
  • your eligible rent if you are living in social housing - this can be different from your full rent (make sure to check with your landlord so you get paid the right amount of Universal Credit)
  • details of any children / relatives / friends who live with you - including their name, date of birth, age and income
  • account details of where you want your Universal Credit to be paid - account number and sort code
  • details of any savings
  • if working - your expected monthly wage
  • details of any other income you receive
  • your own email address and mobile phone number

Claiming other benefits if you get Universal Credit

You may be able to get other benefits and support if you are claiming Universal Credit. This includes Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you are receiving these now and move onto Universal Credit, these benefits will continue to be paid as usual.

If you need help paying your council tax, we have a local council tax reduction scheme , with support available of up to a 100% reduction on your council tax bill. These payments are not included in Universal Credit - you need to claim this from us. please visit our Council Tax Reduction Scheme page to make a claim.

For help with childcare, you  may also be entitled to free play and learn sessions if you have a two year old child.

Get help to apply

You need access to online facilities to apply for Universal Credit. There are no paper copies of the form.

Add your postcode into the box below, to see a list of places where you can access a computer to go online, and also where you can go for additional help if you need it to apply for Universal Credit.

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