Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new working age benefit that is being introduced in Harlow to replace the following six existing benefits:

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

Universal Credit is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions, and unlike the benefits it replaces, it is paid monthly in arrears.

If you need help applying for Universal Credit, Citizen's Advice have a free Help to Claim service which will support you through the claim process

What happens if I am already receiving Housing Benefit?

You do not need to do anything if you are already receiving any of the six benefits listed above, and you will be informed when you need to make a claim for Universal Credit.

Should I claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

Depending on where you live in Harlow you may not be able to claim Housing Benefit, and will need to make a claim for Universal Credit.

You will be still able to claim Housing Benefit if;

1) You are a Pensioner – Universal Credit is a working age benefit and you will be able to claim Housing Benefit if you have reached state pension age. Find out your state pension age at: www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

2) You have three or more children – Families with three or more children will still be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit until November 2018.

3) You are living in supported accommodation – If you rent from a charity, or housing association, and receive care or support as part of your rent then you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. Please speak to your landlord for more advice.

Council Tax Support

If you are liable to pay Council Tax then you will still be able to claim Council Tax Support from the Council using the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support form at: www.harlow.gov.uk/benefits-apply

How do I claim Housing Benefit

You can claim Housing Benefit using the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support form at: www.harlow.gov.uk/benefits-apply

How do I claim Universal Credit

To find out whether you are eligible and how to claim and for more information visit:

You can only apply online for Universal Credit.


Universal Credit claims are assessed using a real time information system which tracks your earnings through the Pay As You Earn system. This means your monthly payment will be amended to top up your benefit should your earnings drop. You are now able to consider working variable hours, safe in the knowledge this will not create complex in and out of benefit situations. Universal Credit accounts will be available to view online similar to online banking. You will be able to make changes to your circumstance in real time and check payments and awards as and when you can, rather than having to phone or make an appointment with your work coach.

How much Universal Credit will I receive?

What you will receive will depend on your circumstances. The calculation of Universal Credit starts with the standard allowance and additional elements are added on, for example if you have children and need childcare or if you also need money to help with your housing costs, this will be paid with your single monthly Universal Credit payment, unlike Housing Benefit.

A calculator is available at: www.gov.uk/universal-credit/what-youll-get

How is Universal Credit paid?

Universal Credit is paid into your bank or building society account each month. It is a single monthly payment which means it is your responsibility to budget your expenses such as rent. You will need a bank, building society or credit union account. The Money Advice Service has information about basic banks accounts at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/basic-bank-accounts​

How will Universal Credit affect landlords?

Universal Credit will normally be paid directly to claimants and it will be their responsibility to pay their rent. However, landlords can request payments to be made directly to them. More information can be found in the landlord toolkit at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-and-rented-housing--2