Universal Credit: What you need to know

Universal Credit is a new benefit being rolled out by the Government and replaces a number of legacy benefits including Housing Benefit, with one single monthly payment for your household. Find more information here.


Most of our tenants who are under pensionable age will be required to make a claim for Universal Credit. 


Universal Credit is expected to replace legacy benefits by 2024, in the meantime, if you’re receiving legacy benefits then you’ll stay on them unless you have a change of circumstance such as moving house, becoming unemployed or splitting up with a partner. 


The amount included in your Universal Credit payment for rent will be paid straight to you. This means that you will become responsible for paying your rent on time.


Universal Credit does not include Council Tax Reduction, you must apply for this separately through your local Revenue and Benefit Office. You can apply for a council tax reduction online here.


How to apply for Universal Credit


You need to apply for Universal Credit online which you can do so by clicking here.


If you need support with making a claim, Citizens Advice provide a 'Help to Claim' service. This includes filling in the application form, collecting relevant evidence, preparing you for your first Jobcentre appointment and checking your first payment is correct.


You can access this service through their website or by speaking to an advisor through their free Help to Claim service by calling 0800 144 8444.


You can read their online advice on Universal Credit at any time.


GetOnline@Home offer affordable and internet ready computers if you're in receipt of eligible benefits. For more information click here.


If you don't have a computer at home, you can try accessing one free of charge at:



All West Sussex libraries have free Wi-Fi, as well as computers with internet access, email services and Microsoft office applications. For more information click here.


  • You have to apply as a couple if you and your partner live together. You don't need to be married.
  • After you apply, you must contact your local Jobcentre Plus within seven days to make an appointment with a work coach.
  • Make sure you have three items of identification, preferably photo ID (passport or driving licence).
  • When you make a claim for Universal credit, you may have to wait up to five weeks before you receive any money. You can apply for an advance payment here.
  • The advance payment can now be paid back in 12 months if you applied before 12 April 2021 and 24 months if you applied after 12 April 2021. There are other options to consider first such as food and fuel vouchers. Please contact us to find out more at moneymatters@saxonweald.com


How will Universal Credit be paid to me?


It will be paid monthly in arrears into your bank account so you will need a bank or building society account or a similar account with a provider such as a credit union. Make sure you can pay your rent and other bills from that account.


You can use budget planners to help you work out how much money you'll have each month and keep track of where you'll spend it. Money Helper has a budget calculator that could help.


It might be a good idea for you to open a separate bank account to receive your Universal Credit payment. This way, your payment won't be mixed up with your current cash.


How can I pay my rent to Saxon Weald?


One of the biggest changes for those on UC will be that they need to pay their rent directly to their landlord - for some this may be the first time they have had to do this. The easiest way to make sure your rent is paid on time would be to set up an automatic payment on the day you receive your UC - either as a standing order or Direct Debit.


You can also check your rent balance and make payments at a time that suits you through our online services.


Please see 'ways to pay' section on our website for full details of the different payment methods available.


If you don't pay your full rent amount on time, you could end up losing your home.


Find out if you're missing out on financial help by using the benefits calculator to work out your possible entitlements. 


Further information and advice can be found on the government website www.gov.uk or by emailing our Money Matters team moneymatters@saxonweald.com.