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Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is part of the Government's Welfare Reform agenda. It replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment. The benefits that Universal Credit replace are:

See Universal Credit on GOV.UK to find out more, or contact the Universal Credit helpline on Freephone 0800 328 9344.

Who can claim Universal Credit?

From 25 July 2018, we transferred to the full Universal Credit Service. We can no longer accept claims for Housing Benefit from working age claimants unless they are:

  • responsible for 3 or more children; or
  • live in certain types of specified/supported accommodation; or
  • live in temporary accommodation.

If you need help to pay your housing costs you must make a claim for Universal Credit online at

If you have any questions about claiming Universal Credit, please contact the Universal Credit helpline on Freephone 0800 328 5644.

Customers already in receipt of Universal Credit before 25 July 2018, who have any questions about their claim, should ring the Universal Credit helpline on Freephone 0800 328 9344.

You will still need to apply for Council Tax Reduction by completing the Council Tax Reduction (Universal Credit) form (PDF: 197Kb / 8 pages).

How to Claim Universal Credit

Apply for Universal Credit on GOV.UK.

How is Universal Credit paid?

See Universal Credit: how you're paid, on GOV.UK for payment details. Anyone claiming Universal Credit receives one monthly payment in arrears. It is paid direct into a bank account.

Any housing costs claimed as part of Universal Credit will be paid direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment. The claimant will be responsible for paying their landlord direct.

See Universal Credit and landlords on GOV.UK for guides which explain what Universal Credit means for landlords.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme

Complete a Council Tax Reduction Scheme (Universal Credit) Claim Form (PDF: 197Kb / 8 pages) if you are in receipt of Universal Credit and need help with paying Council Tax.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will provide us with the information that they have gathered from the claim for Universal Claim.

How we will support you

The Government recognises that there are customers who need help to claim Universal Credit and report change of circumstances online. The DWP will work with us and their partners to provide the support to manage this process by:

Support with online access

If you have difficulty accessing a computer, or need support to complete the online form, you can contact the Benefits Team by

    1. Email:;
    2. Telephone: 01768 810066;
    3. Address: Town Hall, Corney Square, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7QF

Personal budgeting support

There are two elements to budgeting support:

    • Money advice:
      • To help claimants cope with managing their money on a monthly basis and paying their bills on time;
      • Advice will be offered online, by telephone, or face-to-face;
      • Advice will be delivered by external organisations with the relevant expertise to do this.
    • Alternative payment arrangements
      • For those claimants who cannot manage the single monthly payment and there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family.

Help to make an online application

Contact the Benefits Team if you have difficulty accessing a computer, or need support to complete the Universal Credit online form.

Public access computers are available at: