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Universal Credit

Eligibility criteria and applying for Universal Credit in West Berkshire

Universal Credit (UC) is a national benefit for people who are on a low income or out of work. It is paid by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) through JobCentre Plus.

UC replaces:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Eligibility criteria

You are eligible to claim UC, if you are:

  • 18 or over
  • on a low income or unemployed
  • not in full-time education or training

You are not eligible if you:

  • are of State Pension age - check your State Pension age online
  • are resident in specified accommodation - specified accommodation is where you are living in a refuge or Local Authority hostel, or if your landlord is 'not for profit' and/or a registered social landlord, and you are receiving care or support as part of your tenancy in order to address a recognised need
    (if you live in specified accommodation you can still claim UC but you will also need to claim housing benefit to cover your rent)
  • are resident in temporary accommodation, secured by the council in accordance with a statutory homelessness duty 

However, if any of the above apply, you can continue to claim housing benefit.


Applying and making a UC claim

You apply and manage your UC claim online, and it is paid as a single monthly payment, directly into your bank account.

If you are entitled to help towards your rent (this used to be your housing benefit), this will be included in your single monthly payment and you will need to pay your landlord yourself.

Visit the GOV.UK website for more information and help with applying, or contact the UC helpline on 0800 328 9344.

If you already receive housing benefit, you must tell us that you have made a claim for UC, so that we can cancel your current housing benefit.

For new claims or a change in circumstances, you now have to claim UC.


Other benefits

Any other benefits should be applied for separately, including Council Tax Reduction, Discounts and Exemptions which should be claimed directly from West Berkshire Council. You will need to make sure you have a claim in place for Council Tax Reduction, as payments are rarely backdated if you claim at a later date.


Help managing your money

You can find more advice and guidance on the Money Helper website. They also have free budget planners available to use online.


Claims help and support 

We no longer provide UC claim support or budgeting advice. You can get advice from Citizens Advice West Berkshire.

If you need help with your online claim, call Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8 444 from 8am to 6pm. Alternatively, find more support on the Citizens Advice website.

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