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Luton Community Housing

Universal Credit

Universal Credit Frequently Asked Questions.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit system replacing many of the current benefits and tax credits. It is for working age individuals including single parents. You can claim it whether you have a job or not.

Will it affect me?

Universal Credit will affect you if you are:

Of working age

Have two or less children

If you claim any of the following benefits:

  • Housing benefit
  • Child and/or working tax credit
  • ESA (income and contribution based)
  • Job seekers allowance
  • Income support
What do I need to do to get ready for Universal Credit?

  • Get online – you will need an email address and access to the internet to be able to make your application and update your claim.
  • Get a bank account which has the facility to pay by Direct Debit
  • Get your landlords details including how much your weekly rent is.
  • Collate all relevant documentation to apply including your NI Number, tenancy agreement and details of income.
  • Get budgeting advice if you think you will struggle with being paid monthly.
How will Universal Credit affect my rent and council tax payments?

Under Universal Credit payments to help with your rent will be paid directly to you and not your landlord. This will be paid monthly in arrears

Universal Credit does not include council tax reduction. You will need to apply to your council separately to get your council tax reduction

How will I be paid?

You will receive your money monthly in arrears. The amount you get is calculated each month, and depends on your circumstances and earnings during that time.

If your payday falls on a weekend or a bank holiday, you will be paid on the last working day before that date.

In exceptional circumstances different arrangements can be made such as twice monthly payments or payments directly to your landlord (known as an Alternative Payment Arrangements). Wherever possible, these alternative arrangements will be time-limited and support will be offered to help you move successfully to normal payment arrangements.

How does Universal Credit affect me if I live with a partner

You will receive one monthly Universal Credit payment. If you are claiming with a partner this will cover both of you. This will be paid into a suitable account of your choice, which could be a joint account or a single account in either your name or your partnerís name.

What happens if I fall behind with my rent?

If you are struggling to make payments you need to contact your Customer Relationship Manager immediately. We will offer help and support, however you must be aware that keeping your rent account up to date is a condition of your tenancy and failure to do so can result in us applying to the courts for possession of your home. Please refer to our section on Rent payments and arrears actions

What do I have to do in return for my payments?

When you claim Universal Credit you will accept a Claimant Commitment which sets out your responsibilities. Your Claimant Commitment will depend on your personal circumstances. For example, if you are able and available for work, you will need to do everything you reasonably can to find work. With Universal Credit youíll get help identifying your skills and a clear job search plan to help you get back to work more quickly. Preparing for and getting a job must be your full time focus. You may get a cut in your Universal Credit payment, known as a sanction, if you donít meet your responsibilities and canít give a good reason to explain why. If you claim Universal Credit as a couple both of you will need to accept and sign a Claimant Commitment. You will each have your own Claimant Commitment, and yours may be affected if your partner starts work or their circumstances change. New Jobseekerís Allowance claimants and those who complete the Work Programme will also have to agree a Claimant Commitment.

What happens to my payments when I start to work?

You will need to tell DWP if you start working and will be able to call a helpline to report this change. The helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. Call 0345 600 0723.*

Universal Credit aims to make sure you will be better off in work: there is no limit to the number of hours that you can work and still claim Universal Credit. Instead, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will go down as your take home pay goes up, so you wonít lose all your benefits at once if youíre on a low income.

For more information follow the links below:

Watch Universal Credit's latest video

Other Useful links

Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service allows you to take control of your money, make ends meet and make better financial decisions

Money Advice Service - Online Budget Planner
The free Money Advice Service Budget Planner puts you in control of your household spending and analyses your results to help you take control of your money. It's already helped hundreds of thousands of people.

Benefits Cap Calculator
The Government Benefit Cap Calculator allows you to work out your own cap

Learn My Way
Free courses on using a computer, browsing the internet, sending an email and finding work online

Government website on Universal Credit
Link to Government website on Universal Credit