West Berkshire Council

Universal Credit

Eligibility criteria and applying for Universal Credit in West Berkshire


Universal Credit

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 has been a full service area since 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, 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
  • 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 resident in temporary accommodation, secured by the council in accordance with a statutory homelessness duty 

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.

Claims help and support 

We no longer providing UC claim support or budgeting advice. You can get advice from Citizens Advice West Berkshire.

If you need help with your online claim, call Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8 444 from 8am to 6pm. Alternatively, find more support on the Citizens Advice website


Who To Contact

West Berkshire Council's Benefits Team

01635 519258