Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new working-age benefit being introduced gradually across the country as part of the government’s welfare reforms.

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Find out what happens to your other benefits on GOV.UK.

Applying for Universal Credit

You can't make a new claim for Universal Credit until June 2018.

Find out which benefits and tax credits you can claim on the GOV website.  

Our benefits and financial help pages have information about help with rent and council tax.

If you already get Universal Credit and you move to Bristol, you will continue to get it.  You may also get Universal Credit if you made a claim for it in the last six months and your income has reduced since.

The Full Service for Universal Credit will be introduced for all working age households making a new claim for benefit from:

  • June 2018 in Bedminster, Bishopsworth and Temple Street Job Centre Plus areas
  • September 2018  in Horfield and Shirehampton Job Centre Plus areas
  • October 2018 in Kingswood Jobcentre Plus area

You will only move onto Universal Credit if you need to make a new claim from June 2018 for any of the benefits and tax credits it replaces.

If your circumstances do not change, you will continue to get your current benefits and tax credits.

Advice if you already get or have applied for Universal Credit

How you'll be paid

The government will pay Universal Credit into your bank account every month in arrears.

If you don’t have a bank account you can get a basic account for free from most high street banks.  You’ll need to take some ID and proof of address.

Find out more about basic bank accounts on the Money Saving Expert website.

If you have problems setting up a bank account Bristol Credit Union may be able to help.

Advance payments

If you’re entitled to Universal Credit you may be able to get an advance payment to help you manage during the first month or after a change in circumstances that increases your entitlement.  This will be a loan and needs to be repaid over 12 months.

You will be advised about an advance payment at your Universal Credit interview. If you’ve already had your interview, you can phone the Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges and phone numbers on GOV.UK.

Money advice

Keep track of your spending

Find out about the free tools available to help you manage your money on the Money Advice Service website and access the free money manager tool.

The Money Advice Service also has a Universal Credit questionnaire that provides practical advice depending on your circumstances.

You can also talk to your job coach who can refer you for free personal budget support.

Local advice centres

If you’re a housing association tenant your landlord may also be able to help.

Find more advice centres on the Advice Network website.

Get money off your Council Tax

If you’re on a low income, you may be able to get a Council Tax Reduction.

Money in an emergency

If you’re struggling to pay for essentials like food, gas and electricity, you may be able to get short term help from the local crisis and prevention fund.