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Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age on a low income and is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It is a single monthly payment which will eventually replace:

  • Income Support.
  • Income Related Job Seeker's Allowance.
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance.
  • Housing Benefit.
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit.

Helping with housing costs

Any help you get with your rent will be included in your UC payment and you will be responsible for paying your landlord. In some circumstances payments can be made direct to the landlord, for example, when there are rent arrears or threat of eviction or you find it difficult to manage payments.

Universal Credit start date in the Crawley Borough Council area

Universal Credit starts in Crawley on 6 June 2018.

Existing benefit claimants

If you're already claiming any benefits you don't need to do anything. You'll be told when UC will affect you. However if your situation changes and this results in your benefits changing you may need to claim Universal credit.

New benefit claimants

From 6th June 2018 you must claim Universal credit. However there are a few exceptions where you will need to claim Housing Benefit directly from Crawley Borough Council:

  • If you have more than 2 children
  • You are a pensioner
  • You live in supported or specified accommodation
  • You have been placed in temporary accommodation by Crawley Borough Council

How to claim

Claim online via the Universal Credit Portal .

You can view the claim process prior to claiming on Universal credit a guide to claiming .

You must allow time for the online form to be completed. It will take between 20 and 40 minutes but each page will be saved as you go so you can return at a later time if you wish. Please be aware that your claim will not start until your full claim has been submitted.

You will need the following information to claim online:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit will be paid
  • Your rent agreement (if you have one)
  • Details of any savings and other capital
  • Details of any non-work income for example income from an insurance plan
  • Details of any other benefits you already get
  • You might also need these details for people who live in your home, e.g. your partner.

If you do not currently have a bank account you will need to set one up. There are several banks in Crawley that offer a Basic Bank Account .

Do not delay in making your claim as the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) cannot backdate your claim except in exceptional circumstances.

Accessing the internet

Don’t have access?

If you don't have internet access at home there are lots of places across Crawley and nearby that provide free internet access including:

Help completing the form

The Citizens Advice Bureau will be providing assistance at Crawley Borough Council Tuesday to Thursday 10:00am to 3:00pm. They will assist in the online application and also offer budgeting advice. More information on this service and when it due to start will follow shortly.

Proving your Identity

GOV.UK Verify is the new way to prove who you are online and speed up the process for claiming Universal Credit. It may even stop the need for you to visit a Job Centre in person to prove who you are.

It gives safer, simpler and faster access to government services like claiming Universal Credit.

It should take between 5 and 15 minutes to verify your identity the first time you use GOV.UK Verify. For some people it may take longer. Any time after that, it should only take a couple of minutes to sign in.

When you use GOV.UK Verify to access a government service, you choose from a list of companies certified to verify your identity, these are listed on the link above.

The company you choose will ask you for some personal details. They will check those details against records held by mobile phone providers, HM Passport Office, DVLA or credit agencies. There's no effect on your credit score. The company will then confirm your identity to the government service you're using, such as to the DWP if you are claiming Universal Credit.

Each certified company has different ways of verifying your identity, and the options are growing all the time.

Using certified companies makes GOV.UK Verify a safer, simpler and faster way of accessing government services online.

It's safe because information is not stored centrally, and there's no unnecessary sharing of information. The company you choose doesn't know which service you're using, and the government department does not know which company you have chosen.

It's fast and simple because you can do it online, without going to prove your identity in person, or waiting for something in the post. Please note that the DWP may ask you to visit in person for other reasons.

All customer should automatically be offered this verify service when applying for Universal Credit.


Universal Credit will be paid monthly to one person in the household. If you live with your partner and both claim UC you'll receive a single payment that covers you both.

Any help you get with your rent will be included with your Universal Credit payment and you'll then pay your landlord yourself.

Help with Council Tax

Help with Council Tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. The Department for Work and Pensions will no longer accept a claim for Council Tax Reduction at the same time as you claim UC.

You must apply for Council Tax Support through the council's Benefits Service, and provide any evidence needed to support your claim.

If you don't send your Council Tax Reduction claim to us when you apply for Universal Credit you may lose benefit entitlement as we may not be able to backdate it.

Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) will still be administered by Crawley Borough Council even if you no longer claim Housing Benefit. You will need to have your housing costs met through Universal Credit. DHP can only be paid to meet the shortfall of Universal Credit Housing costs towards your rent. If once your Universal credit has been worked out the Housing payment does not meet your rent you can claim a Discretionary Housing Payment .

Need help and support with your claim?

You can find a Job Centre and they will be able to advise you on Universal Credit and payments. If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.

If you need financial help before your UC payment is due and meet certain conditions, you can ask for an advanced payment from Job Centre Plus (not the Council). Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance. CAB offer the following advice .

Your local Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) can provide help with budgeting.

A Universal Credit: Help to Claim advice service is available at Job Centre Plus Crawley and at Citizens Advice centres in Crawley (central) and Broadfield.

Once your payments have started, Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North, South, East) can help with any questions you may have.

There are several other agencies that may be able to help depending on your circumstances and the help you need.

Contact information

If you require help with something in this section, please contact us, using the contact details below:

01293 438000 click to email us
Town Hall
The Boulevard
West Sussex
RH10 1UZ
Open Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5pm

Contact Us

01293 438000

email: click to email us

Town Hall
The Boulevard
West Sussex
RH10 1UZ
Open Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5pm

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