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Universal Credit is a new benefit that is assessed and awarded by Department for Work and Pensions.
It brings together Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Working and Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit into one benefit and helps ensure people are better off in work.
It is a new single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.
You can only apply online. You will need to have an email address and a bank account, before you claim so make sure you have the information you will need in front of you, a checklist is available at GOV.UK.
Universal Credit will be paid as a single monthly payment, direct to the customer, similar to a wage. It is paid in one single payment, by bank transfer, direct to your bank account.
You will need a bank account to receive Universal Credit but you could also receive your Universal Credit payment into a Credit Union account.
Most High street banks now offer a basic bank account that is accessible to all.
Further information regarding basic bank accounts is available on the money advice service website or please see the basic bank account leaflet in the documents section on this page.
No. Part of your Universal Credit that is paid because you rent your home and need help paying your rent, will ordinarily be paid directly to you as part of your single monthly Universal Credit payment.
You will be responsible for paying your rent to your Landlord.
If you need help managing this payment you can ask your Work Coach for a referral to Preston City Council Welfare Benefits.
In some circumstances the Universal Credit payment can be split, and the Housing Element can be paid directly to you Landlord. This is called an “Alternative Payment Arrangement”.
People living in Supported Accommodation may still be able to apply for Housing Benefit.
The rules regarding this are complex and if you think you are living in supported accommodation, please speak to your Landlord, or contact us, to confirm.
Some families, with more than two children, living in Universal Credit Full Service sites will still be able claim “legacy” benefits including Housing Benefit following 6 April 2017.
If there is a shortfall in the amount of Universal Credit you receive towards your rent, and your actual rent, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
A Discretionary Housing Payment can be made to help top up your Housing element should you be suffering financial hardship.
You will need to apply for Discretionary Housing Payment to Preston City Council.
Discretionary Housing Payments can also be used to help towards a rent deposit or moving costs should you need to move to more suitable accommodation, that you can afford within your own budget.
You can get help with your Council Tax through Local Council Tax Support, and is awarded by Preston City Council.
You will need to make an online application for Local Council Tax Support alongside your application for Universal Credit.
You can get advice online about Universal Credit through the Gov.UK website. Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice provide additional help and support on Universal Credit.
If you require help with something in this section, please contact us.