Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Have your say
  3. My Durham

Universal Credit


Universal Credit is a monthly payment that you may be able to claim if you're on a low income or out of work.

Claiming Universal Credit can change how you manage your money. Before you apply, read Universal Credit - what you need to know which explains everything you must put in place before making a claim.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. It is issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Universal Credit works differently from other benefits - it's important to know the differences.

The biggest differences are:

  • You'll get a single payment each month, rather than weekly or fortnightly.
  • It will be paid direct into a single bank account, as a single household payment.
  • Instead of getting a separate housing benefit payment, your housing costs will be paid as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent to your landlord.
  • You can only apply for Universal Credit online through Gov.uk. There are no paper versions of the form available - if for any particular reason, you can't complete the online form, you can get help to claim Universal Credit.

What benefits has it replaced?

It replaced the following benefits and tax credits:

  • Housing benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

If you already receive one of the benefits above, continue to do so as normal until you are told that you need to claim Universal Credit instead.

Who can claim?

To get Universal Credit you must:

  • be 18 or over
  • be under State Pension credit age - check your state pension credit age
  • live in the UK
  • not have savings over £16,000
  • not be entitled, or have been entitled in the last month, to jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance, income support or housing benefit that includes a severe disability premium

How to claim Universal Credit

You have to claim Universal Credit online through Gov.uk - apply for Universal Credit online through Gov.ukYou need access to online facilities to apply for Universal Credit. There are no paper copies of the form.

See help to claim Universal Credit if you need help to apply, whether it's to use a computer, or to get help with your application.

Universal Credit helpline

In exceptional circumstances you may be able to apply by phone or in person. You'll need to tell the Universal Credit helpline why you can't apply online, for example if you have problems reading or writing.

Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Calls to these numbers are free and lines are open Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 6.00pm.

Note: an application on the phone can take up to 40 minutes, make sure you have all of the information you need before you call (see before you claim to see the list of information you need).

Guidance to help you claim

Learn My Way: Universal Credit - a how to guide

The following video shows you how to complete the online claim form.

Before you claim

Before you make your claim, you should have the following information:

  • your (and your partner's) National Insurance number
  • your postcode
  • your landlord's name and address
  • your eligible rent if you are living in social housing - this can be different from your full rent (make sure to check with your landlord so you get paid the right amount of Universal Credit)
  • details of any children / relatives / friends who live with you - including their name, date of birth, age and income
  • account details of where you want your Universal Credit to be paid - account number and sort code
  • details of any savings
  • if working - your expected monthly wage
  • details of any other income you receive
  • your own email address and mobile phone number

Claiming other benefits if you get Universal Credit

You may be able to get other benefits and support if you are claiming Universal Credit. This includes Child Benefit, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you are receiving these now and move onto Universal Credit, these benefits will continue to be paid as usual.

If you need help paying your council tax, we have a local council tax reduction scheme , with support available of up to a 100% reduction on your council tax bill. These payments are not included in Universal Credit - you need to claim this from us. please visit our Council Tax Reduction Scheme page to make a claim.

For help with childcare, you  may also be entitled to free play and learn sessions if you have a two year old child.

Get help to apply

Add your postcode into the box below, to see a list of places where you can access a computer to go online, and also where you can go for additional help if you need it to apply for Universal Credit. The national Citizens Advice Universal Credit helpline is 0800 144 8 444.

Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Print this page