Menu Close


Universal credit

What is universal credit?

Universal credit is a new single, monthly payment, introduced by government, which is replacing a number of existing benefits and tax credits, including housing benefit.

If you're of working age and your circumstances change, you will need to claim universal credit online. It can then take 6-8 weeks to receive your first payment so don't delay!

Universal credit will replace:

  • income-based job seekers allowance
  • income-based employment and support allowance
  • income support
  • child tax credit and working tax credit
  • housing benefit

Getting help to apply for Universal Credit 

The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the online application, through to support with your application before your first full payment.

It’s a free, independent, confidential and impartial service provided by trained advisers from Citizens Advice. They can help with things like how to gather evidence for your application or how to prepare for your work coach appointment.

Call for free: 

0800 144 8 444 (England) 

08000 241 220 (Wales) 

Get support online or find your nearest service at citizensadvice.org.uk/helptoclaim      

How is universal credit different to the current benefits system?

Universal credit brings together multiple benefits into one payment, which will be paid directly to you, every month, into your bank or building society or post office account. This means that you will need to now pay your rent directly to us.

The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit. Find out how to set up a direct debit here

The government have also produced this online tool to help you see how universal credit is different to other benefits and how you can best prepare.

I live with a partner, how will universal credit affect us?

If you live with a partner you'll now get a single payment for both of you, so you might want to consider opening a joint account to help you manage your money.

If you have a joint tenancy, but only one of you now resides at the property, this could affect your universal credit application. Please contact your account manager to discuss this further on 01225 715 715.

When will universal credit start?

Universal credit is already in operation in Wiltshire and Somerset. We are seeing an increase in the number of Selwood Housing customers who are moving across to universal credit.

Who will universal credit affect?

Universal credit will affect those of working age, who are on a low income. If you're looking for work, or not able to work universal credit will apply.

When will my benefits change?

You'll move to universal credit when there is a change in your circumstances that affects your existing benefit claim, such as a change to your employment status or an addition to your family.

If you were claiming housing benefit prior to making a claim for universal credit, you need to ensure that your housing benefit will be paid up to the start of your claim. If this is not the case, you will need to contact your local council.

How do I apply for universal credit?

If you have a change in circumstances you may need to claim for universal credit. You will need to make your application online. If you don't have a computer you can make your claim at the local library or pop into our office in Trowbridge to use our computer in reception.

Need to know

We'll try and keep you up to date with any changes to universal credit here.

Surplus earnings

(Firstly a reminder of how universal credit works with earnings....)

If you're employed, how much universal credit you get will depend on your earnings. As you earn more, your universal credit payment will reduce gradually.

Your work allowance

You can earn a certain amount before your payment is reduced, if you are responsible for a child or young person, or you are living with a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work. This is called a 'work allowance'.

If you then earn enough to no longer claim universal credit, your payment will be stopped.

What are surplus earnings?

Surplus earnings were introduced last April. If your earnings in a month are more than £2,500 over the amount where your payment stopped, this becomes 'surplus earnings'.

What do surplus earnings affect?

Surplus earnings are carried forward to the following month, where they count towards your earnings. If in this following month you are still over the amount where your payment stops, you will not receive a universal credit payment.

What do I need to do if this affects me?

For more information about how your earnings affect your universal credit payments, please visit gov.uk to find out more. You can also contact your account manager at Selwood Housing for advice.

Universal credit applications

Need a helping hand with your Universal Credit application?