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Universal Credit

On 4 July 2019, full Universal Credit was introduced in Colchester. This means, from that date, any residents of working age who are either claiming new benefits or making changes to their existing benefits are likely to move over to Universal Credit.

If you think you may be affected by this, you can find out what this means for you and your household and what you’ll need to do to prepare for this change, online here.

If you have or are going to be moving onto Universal Credit and also claim Local Council Tax Support, don’t forget you’ll still need to claim this separately as it’s not included within your Universal Credit payment. Universal Credit is a new benefit that is designed to replace 6 existing benefits with a single monthly payment.

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Whether you live in a council/housing association property or you rent your home privately, you can find out more at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/housing/.

If you claim Universal Credit you will not normally be entitled to Housing Benefit. Instead, you will need to make arrangements to pay your rent yourself from your Universal Credit payment.  Check our Ways to pay for all the methods of payment available. The Money Advice Service has put together some information and advice about paying your own rent under Universal Credit.

Before claiming Universal Credit you may need to change how you manage money. You’ll also need to make sure you can go online. You can use this checklist to help you plan the changes you may need to make.

If you’re eligible for Universal Credit, you can currently receive it into a Post Office card account. However, in the future (by March 2021) you will need a bank or building society current account, or an account with an alternative provider like a credit union. The account must allow you to both make and receive automated payments, so you will no longer be able to use a Post Office card account as this doesn’t allow you to make automated payments.

A fee-free basic bank account may be worth considering if you don’t have a bank account or can’t use or open a standard current account. You can use a fee-free basic bank account to receive money and pay bills. This page tells you more about whether you might qualify for a fee-free basic bank account, what documents you need to open one and how to use it.

Find out about using a bank account to receive Universal Credit and how managing your account keeps you in control of your money.

For information about Universal Credit and how to apply you can visit the Gov.uk website or watch this video:

‘Universalcreditinfo’ is designed to help people check whether they can claim universal credit in their postcode area (and the status of tax credits and other benefit claims), with links to information about how universal credit works and to details of independent local advice organisations across Great Britain.