West Berkshire Council

Universal Credit

About Universal Credit in West Berkshire

Universal Credit (UC) is a new national benefit for people who are on a low income or out of work. It is paid by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) through JobCentre Plus. West Berkshire will be a full service area from 6 December 2017.

UC replaces:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Eligibility criteria

You are eligible to claim UC from 6 December 2017, if you are:

  • 18 or over
  • on a low income or unemployed
  • not in full-time education or training

You are not eligible if you:

  • are of State Pension age - check your State Pension age online
  • have three or more dependent children living in your household
  • are resident in specified accommodation - if you live in specified accommodation you can still claim UC but you will also need to claim housing benefit to cover your rent
  • are living in a property with a postcode that starts RG7 5, RG7 6, RG8 6, RG8 7, RG8 8, RG8 9 or RG9 2 - you will not be able to claim UC until 17 January 2018
  • are living in a property with a postcode that starts RG26 3, RG26 4 - you will not be able to claim UC until 14 February 2018

However, if any of the above apply, you can continue to claim housing benefit.

Applying and making a UC claim

You apply and manage your UC claim online, and it is paid as a single monthly payment, directly into your bank account.

If you are entitled to help towards your rent (this used to be your housing benefit), this will be included in your single monthly payment and you will need to pay your landlord yourself.

For more information and help with applying, visit Gov.uk or contact the UC helpline on 0800 328 9344.

If you already receive housing benefit, you must tell us that you have made a claim for UC, so that we can cancel your current housing benefit.

For new claims or a change in circumstances, you now have to claim UC.

Other benefits

Any other benefits should be applied for separately, this includes Council Tax Reduction, which should be claimed directly from West Berkshire Council. You will need to make sure you have a claim in place for Council Tax Reduction, as payments will not be backdated if you claim at a later date.

Help managing your money

Free monthly budget planners are available online, or visit the Money Advice Service website for more advice and guidance.

Who To Contact

West Berkshire Council's Benefits Team

01635 519258