Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Whether you can claim Universal Credit depends on where you live and your circumstances.

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit.

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you cannot claim Universal Credit at the same time.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK and was launched in the Diss area in May 2018, and in rest of the South Norfolk area on 17th October 2018. Find out what information you'll need before you can apply and view our Universal Credit map to see where this has been, and will be, introduced. You don’t need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances and need to apply for another benefit.

Here are a few examples of what could trigger the change to Universal Credit (these are not exhaustive):

  • Changing from Income Support to Job Seekers Allowance
  • Starting work and applying for Working Tax Credits
  • Moving to a new area and applying for Housing Benefit with a new Local Authority.

Applications for Universal Credits are made online. Please click here to make an application.

If you and your partner live together you have to apply as a couple.

You will need to have a bank account to apply for Universal Credit. For more information and guidance please click here.

After you apply, you must contact your local Job Centre Plus within 7 days to make an appointment. You won’t get Universal Credit if you don’t attend the appointment.

If you need help to apply online for Universal Credit and your Council Tax Support, please contact us via email: benefitsmailbox@s-norfolk.gov.uk. Alternatively please contact the benefits team on Freephone 0808 178 7143.

A Benefits Officer will also be at Diss Job Centre on Wednesdays from 10am - 1pm. On Thursdays a Benefits Officer will be at Norwich Job Centre between 10am and 4pm to provide support.

If you already have a claim for Housing Benefit and you are now applying for Universal Credit please report your change (you will need your claim reference, National Insurance number, and personal details to hand).

The frequency that you will receive your benefits will change when you move onto Universal Credit as all payments are made monthly. This may have a significant impact as you are used to receiving money weekly or fortnightly. Once you have applied for Universal Credit, any Housing Benefit you are entitled to will stop. Your Universal Credit will include a housing element and it is your responsibility to ensure your rent is paid in full. Unless you own your home, you are liable to pay rent, even if the council has paid it before. 

If there is any risk that you may struggle with these changes or are worried about negotiating with an organisation you owe money to, please contact us as early as possible on benefitsmailbox@s-norfolk.gov.uk or alternatively call the Benefits team on 0808 178 7143 to make an appointment.

The Money Manager tool also provides guidance and tips on how to manage the change to Universal Credit.

Should you require debt advice please contact our South Norfolk Help Hub or alternatively please see the Money Advice Services debt advice.