Universal credit: Information for claimants

If you're a landlord, read universal credit: information for landlords.

Universal credit was introduced in Cambridge in October 2018, although it might not affect you for some time. It will initially replace the following benefits in all new claims from people under the state pension age:

  • Jobseeker's allowance
  • Employment and support allowance
  • Child and working tax credits
  • Housing benefit
  • Income support

If you are already receiving one of these benefits, you might not have to claim universal credit for some time unless your circumstances change.

If you do not have a change in circumstances, your claim will be transferred to universal credit over time. The switch, called managed migration, is expected to be finished by 2022 or 2023.

Universal credit will introduce big changes for claimants, their landlords, and the organisations that support them.

Prepare for the change

Your claim might not go to universal credit immediately, but there is plenty you can do to prepare for the change.

You will only be able to claim universal credit online. If you can’t get online at home, you can use a computer at our customer service centre. You can also book a computer at your local library, or find out how to get online for free.

Universal credit will be paid monthly in arrears, in to your bank account. It will include money towards your housing costs if you have any, but you must still remember to pay your rent. If you think you’ll struggle with any of this, talk to your work coach at the job centre about:

  • Personalised budgeting advice can be easily arranged through our partnership with Cambridge CAB
  • Advance payments can be arranged when you first claim, or if you have a big change of circumstance while claiming
  • In some circumstances, the portion of universal credit that is for your housing costs can be paid directly to your landlord.

Check our advice about debt and managing your money if you’re worried about managing your money on a monthly basis. Check whether your bank account allows you to make regular payments for your rent.

Set up an email address if you don't have one already. Your day-to-day contact with your work coach will be through an online ‘journal’, which you’ll need an email address to access.

Identify any information you might need to make a claim. This includes rent details, income and savings, and a way to prove your identity. Some of this can be done by creating a Verify account.

Have a look at this Universal Credit checklist for individuals - which lists everything you need access to before you make an application.

Contact us if you’re unsure about any of this or have any other questions about universal credit. If we can’t help you ourselves, we’ll point you in the direction of an organisation that can.

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