Who can claim?

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension Age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

Not everyone should claim Universal Credit. If you currently get:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

You do not need to do anything unless:

  • you have a change of circumstances you need to report (triggers) that change what you claim
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacts you about moving to Universal Credit.

You can find more information about Universal Credit on the and GOV.UK .

East Ayrshire Citizens Advice and East Ayrshire Universal Credit Support Team can also provide support.

How is Universal Credit paid?

If your application is successful, you will receive your first Universal Credit payment about 5 weeks after submitting your claim. Universal Credit is paid 1 month in arrears into a bank, building society or credit union account. Currently some people are paid in to a post office card account but this service will be ending and Department for Work and Pensions are writing to claimants with this type of account to request alternative account details.

There is a provision in Scotland for payments to be made twice monthly or for some of the Universal Credit to be paid directly to the landlord that relate to your housing costs.

Universal Credit does not include any benefit for council tax charges or provide Council Tax Reduction.

How to claim

Make sure you provide full information about your circumstances on your claim. You may be due extra amounts on Universal Credit if you meet the criteria for these additions:

  • You have children
  • If those children have entitlement to a disability benefit
  • You pay childcare costs
  • If you are unfit to work, have a disability or health condition
  • If you care for someone with a disability who receives certain levels of disability benefits, although if your claim a carer element this could affect the disabled persons benefit entitlement.
  • You have housing costs

You will need certain information before you start the claim:

  • About you and your partner if you have one- including National Insurance Number, all incomes and money/capital
  • Bank details
  • Rent /tenancy agreement details to ensure housing costs are included in the claim
  • Children’s details, if you have any
  • Childcare costs, if you have any
  • Details of anyone else who lives with you, including their income.

Apply for Universal Credit online and check Citizens Advices useful checklist for more information.

Additional assistance is provided by East Ayrshire Citizens Advice and East Ayrshire Universal Credit Support Team or you can contact the Universal Credit Helpline – 0800 328 5644

The Journal

You will have an online account to manage, called a ‘journal’. Keep your login details and password secure. The DWP will tell you how and when to access your journal.

The DWP Universal Credit Service Centre will tell you what you need to do. They will look at your evidence, verify, and approve your application. Once processed the DWP will give you a decision about your claim.

If you don’t agree with the award decision

If you disagree with a decision on Universal Credit, you will have time limits to ask for a decision to be looked at again, a Mandatory Reconsideration, or following this if you still disagree, to make an appeal. This is usually 1 month from the date you receive a decision about your benefit.

Seek advice when disputing a benefit decision, as you may need representation.