Universal Credit

Are you a landlord? If so, you may find it useful to look at the gov.uk website for Universal Credit information specific to landlords.

Applying for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit

From 20 June 2018, most working age people need to apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit.

Who can still apply for Housing Benefit rather than Universal Credit?

People of working age still able to make a new Housing Benefit claim:

  1. if you have 3 or more children in your household. You can make a new Housing Benefit until early 2019 after which, new claims will have to be made for Universal Credit.
  2. if you live in Supported Accommodation (also known as Specified Accommodation) you can still claim Housing Benefit. This is planned to change from April 2020.
  3. if you live in Temporary Accommodation, that is accommodation provided to you by the council if you are homeless.
  4. if your postcode is any of the ones shown below you will can still make a new claim for Housing benefit up to 9 October 2018, after which you can only make a new claim if you fall into parts 1, 2 or 3 above. The postcodes included are:
    • BD3 7??   
    • BD4 8??   
    • LS19 7??   
    • LS20 7??   
    • LS21 3??   
    • LS29 0??   
    • LS29 6??   
    • LS29 7??   
    • LS29 8??   
    • LS29 9??   

What if I already claim Housing Benefit?

If you already claim Housing Benefit and have a change in your circumstances after 20/6/18 you may have to claim Universal Credit. Some changes that are NOT included in this are:

  • you are awarded a disability benefit (such as Personal Independence Payment)
  • you move to a new, rented accommodation within the Bradford district.

If you don’t have a change in circumstances you won’t be switched to Universal Credit until sometime between summer 2019 and March 2023. More details about this will be available here nearer the time.

What is Universal Credit and how does it work?

Universal Credit is administered and paid for by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and replaces a number of existing benefits for working age applicants. You can find more details about Universal Credit and how it works on the DWP website.

I’m not currently eligible, what do I do now?

From June 2018, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit for help towards your rent.

You can only make a claim for housing benefit if:

  • you live in supported/exempt accommodation
  • you have 3 or more children who live with you
  • you are a pensioner

If you do not fall into any of the above categories you need to claim Universal Credit. To find out how ready you are to claim, take the Universal Credit quiz.

Things you need before claiming Universal Credit

Make sure you have a bank account

To receive Universal Credit, you will need to have a bank account so that your benefit and/or salary can be paid straight into it.

There are different bank accounts available, including a basic bank account, current account, building society, Post Office or one from Bradford District Credit Union. If you want general advice on which bank account to choose, please visit the Money Advice Service website.

Make sure you have an email account

Follow our online guidance to setting up an email account.

Help managing your finances

Manage your money

If you need help with your planning and managing your money, you can get help and advice on the Money Advice website.

Debt advice

You can find local advice services on the Bradford and Airedale advice website.

Help with Council Tax

Important - you need to know this if you apply for Universal Credit

If you are a Council Tax payer and are on a low income, you may get help with your Council Tax bill through the Council Tax Reduction scheme. To apply, you must complete a Council Tax Reduction application form.

Important: the DWP will not accept an application for Council Tax Reduction or Discretionary Housing Payments - you must apply directly to the Council as soon as you can.

Help with housing costs

If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for help with your housing costs from the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme. To apply, you must complete a Discretionary Housing Payments application form.

Important: the DWP will not accept your application for Discretionary Housing Payment - you must apply directly to the Council as soon as you can.

Better off in work calculator

See how much better off in work you could be with the better off in work calculator. This fast and simple to use calculator displays how your benefits are affected as a result of moving into work in a clear and easy to understand way. You can then start your job search with vacancies in the local area through built in Universal Job Match.

Budget Calculator

Use this budgeting calculator to manage your spending. Once you've entered your outgoings, the calculator will automatically highlight potential savings and key areas to work on. This fast, accurate and simple to use device will then calculate your new surplus/shortfall.

Claiming Universal Credit and setting up an account

You will only be able to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online. You might also need to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre.

There is a step by step video guide about how to open a Universal Credit account on YouTube.

If you need help in making and managing your Universal Credit claim, visit our Help with Universal Credit claims page.

Verify your identity

You may be able to speed up your application process if you verify your identity online before you make your application.

More information

More information about Universal Credit can be found on the gov.uk website.

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Contact details

Bradford Council
Visit us (call us first to make an appointment)

Call us : 01274 432772
Text message (SMS) : 07786 208 100
Email : benefits@bradford.gov.uk


Write to us at:

Housing Benefits and Reductions
PO Box 1251
Bradford
BD1 9YY

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