Universal Credit is a payment administered by the UK Government to help with your living costs. It's designed to make the welfare system simpler by replacing six benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment.
Monthly Universal Credit payments will replace:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Job Seeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
Most people in work are paid monthly, paying rent and budgeting their household income themselves each month. Monthly Universal Credit payments help you to start budgeting effectively and prepares you for moving into work.
You'll need to make a separate claim for any Council Tax reduction you may be entitled to, it is not included as part of Universal Credit.
Those working, and in receipt of Universal Credit, should see a change to the amount of their Universal Credit award from 1 December 2021.
The Autumn Budget of 2021 included a reduction to the Universal Credit taper rate, this is being reduced from 63% to 55%. What this means is employed earners will get to keep more of their earnings than they have done before; instead of 63p in every £1 being deducted when calculating their Universal Credit award, 55p in every £1 will be deducted in the calculation of Universal Credit.
More information on Universal Credit can be found at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Universal Credit page.
There are also online benefit calculators which allow you to find out how this will impact you financially:
- Benefits calculators - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Turn2us Benefits Calculator
- Benefit and budgeting calculator | Policy In Practice (betteroffcalculator.co.uk)
- Benefits Calculator - entitledto - independent | accurate | reliable
- Benefit calculators: what benefits can you get - Citizens Advice Scotland
How to apply
You need to submit an application online:
Free internet access is available at our Customer Service Centres as well as Job Centres in Annan, Dumfries and Stranraer.
You'll need to have some information at hand to make a claim, this can include your:
- National Insurance number
- email address
- phone number
- address and postcode
- landlord's address
- rent costs
- bank, building society or Credit Union account details
- savings figures
- salary or other income figures
Call 0800 328 5644 if you need any help with your application.
Managing your payments
Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears and payments go direct into your account. You'll be given an online 'journal' to manage your Universal Credit, the Department for Work and Pensions will explain how and when to access your journal.
Your payments aren't just for food or living expenses, they include any housing costs you are entitled to and you'll need to manage these payments.
You'll now have to pay your rent as soon as you receive your payment. It's important to contact your Housing Association office or private landlord immediately to discuss your payment options. You don't need to tell them that you receive Universal Credit.
You must also remember to pay your council tax from the money you receive.
Other financial assistance and support
You may be entitled to an advance payment if you're going to struggle financially while your claim is being processed and you're waiting for your first payment.
- Contact your work coach at the Job Centre or using your online journal
- Call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644
You may also be able to apply for:
People can face challenges switching to a monthly budget and support is available to help you manage your money:
- Talk to your work coach at the Job Centre or via your online journal
- Call the Financial Inclusion and Welfare Support Team on 030 33 33 3008