Universal Credit (Welfare Benefit Reform)

Housing Benefit

From 29 November 2017 - if you are of working age you will need to apply for Universal Credit as your housing costs will be paid in your Universal Credit payment.

If you live in Supported Accommodation you will still be eligible to claim Universal Credit but will also need to apply for Housing Benefit for help towards your rent (eligible housing costs).

If you have more than two dependent children you cannot currently claim Universal Credit and will need to apply for alternative benefits such as Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or Working Tax Credit and/or Child Tax Credit AND Housing Benefit.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a benefit for working age people that replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits. It is designed to support people who have a low (or no) income with their basic living expenses and housing costs. Working age usually means people between the ages of 18 and Pension Credit qualifying age.

Universal Credit is paid as one monthly amount. The money will usually be paid direct to you and not your landlord so you will be responsible for ensuring your rent is paid.

Which benefits is it replacing?

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance (income-based)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (Income-related)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.  You will need to make a claim for Universal Credit online.

Help and Advice

The following links may help you prepare for the change:

How to claim Universal Credit

This video explains the basic process for claiming Universal Credit.


Before you start your claim you will need:

  • Email address, landline and/or mobile phone number
  • National Insurance number (and your partners)
  • Postcode
  • Landlords name and address
  • Your bank or building society account details (or credit union account).

You will also need (if applicable):

  • Photo ID
  • Rent Costs (tenancy agreement)
  • Wages (payslips)
  • Family details

Apply for Universal Credit

If you do not have access to a computer, you can use one of our public access computers in Marmion House Reception which are available between 9am to 4pm. We do not charge for this.

If you need help and advice about Universal Credit, you can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

Budgeting and Digital Support

The Council can help you if you need advice/help with your Universal Credit claim and/or Personal Budgeting Support.  This may include any of the following:

  • Setting up a bank account
  • Setting up a personal email address, if you do not already have one
  • Support to complete an online claim for Universal Credit
  • Helping you with your money and monthly budget.

Contact the Benefits Team to arrange an appointment to find out about the help available to you:
Tel: 01827 709709 press Option 5, followed by Option 1 and then Option 3 or Email: benefits@tamworth.gov.uk

Universal Credit Advance Payments

You may not receive your first Universal Credit payment for 6 weeks. If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for this payment you may be able to get an advance payment. You can find out more about how to apply for a Universal Credit advance here.

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments are intended to provide short-term financial assistance to help with housing costs.  This can be paid in addition to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing element included).  Further information and how to apply can be found here:

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

Council Tax Reduction

The Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme could help you pay less Council Tax if you are on a low income whether you work or claim benefits – including Universal Credit. 

You can apply by completing our easy online application form. If you would like help to complete the online claim, one of our customer services team will also be available to help you between 9-4pm. You can also use one of our self-serve computers in the main reception should you not have access at home.