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Universal Credit

What is universal credit?

Single people claiming benefits for the first time are now awarded a new benefit called universal credit.

Universal credit, launched in January 2015, is a new, simpler monthly payment combining some existing benefits and tax credits. Universal credit must be managed online.

You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits - you’ll be told when universal credit will affect you.


Universal credit will replace:

  • Income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Income support
  • Child tax credit
  • Working tax credit
  • Housing benefit

How can I claim universal credit?

You should make your claim online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit, then check on your payments and updates through your online account. If you need help with your claim, you can contact the universal credit helpline on 0345 6000 723 or text phone 0345 6000 743 between 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday. You can ask the person on the helpline to call you back so you don’t have to pay for the call.

What do I do if I haven’t got a computer?

The job centre can tell you about local places where you can access the internet for free, most local libraries will have computers you can use, or you can use one of the computers in the reception of our West Ham Lane office. For more information on places you can get online visit our local resources page. 

How will I receive my benefits?

Universal credit will be paid into your bank account. If you receive housing benefit as part of your universal credit, the money for your rent will be paid directly to you, and you will be responsible for paying it to East Thames.