Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age. It is a single monthly payment that is paid in arrears and it is being introduced in stages across the country. Universal Credit will eventually replace the following 6 existing benefits:

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

If you are of State Pension age, you will not be affected by Universal Credit and should still claim Housing Benefit.

How do I get help paying my Council Tax?

Local Council Tax Support for help with paying your Council Tax is still administered by the Council and is not part of Universal Credit. Therefore you need to make an application to the Council even if you do receive Universal Credit.

Claim using our on-line claim form

What happens if I am already receiving Housing Benefit?

You do not need to do anything if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit. You will eventually have to make a claim for Universal Credit but you will be told when you need to do so.

What should I claim – Housing Benefit or Universal Credit?

If you have received Universal Credit in the six months prior to now making a new claim, you need to claim Universal Credit again.

If you have a partner, children or you are unfit for work, whether you have to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will depend on where you live in the Epping Forest District. There are currently 7 different start dates for the introduction of full service Universal Credit across the Epping Forest District. The start date depends upon the postcode of where you live and therefore which JobcentrePlus office administers your postcode. The majority of the Epping Forest District will not have to claim Universal Credit until 5 December 2018 but, if you live in one of the postcode areas administered by Harlow JCP, Waltham Cross JCP, Brentwood JCP, Walthamstow JCP, Redbridge JCP, or Hertford JCP, you will be affected earlier.

Please see the table below which lists the Jobcentres, the proposed start dates and the post codes affected.

Please note that these dates are subject to change if the Government amend the roll-out timetable.


Jobcentre Plus office

Start date for full service


Harlow JCP


CM17 0--, CM17 9--,

CM18-- 7, CM19 5--,

CM21 9--


Waltham Cross JCP



EN8 9--, EN9 2--, EN10 6--

Brentwood JCP


CM4 0--, CM15 0--


Walthamstow JCP



E4 7--


Redbridge JCP




IG7 4--


IG8 0--, IG8 8-- 


Hertford JCP



EN11 0

CM22 7--


Loughton JCP


CM5 0--, CM5 9--, CM16 4--, CM16 5--, CM16 6--,

CM16 7--,

EN9 1--, EN9 3--,

IG7 5-- IG7 6--, IG9 5--,

IG9 6--, IG10 1--, IG10 2--,

IG10 3--, IG10 4--,

RM4 1--


You will still be able to claim Housing Benefit after these dates if;

1.      You have reached state pension age - Find your state pension age.

2.      You have three or more children -  Families with three or more children will not have to claim Universal Credit until February 2019. 

3.      You live in supported accommodation provided by a Housing Association or a registered charity -  If you receive support from your landlord  as part of your rent because you are vulnerable in some way, eg, you have physical disabilities, mental health issues or drug/alcohol addictions, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. 

How do I claim Housing Benefit?

Claim using our on-line claim form


How do I claim Universal Credit?

If you fall under the group of households that should be claiming Universal Credit you will need to do this online as Universal Credit can only be claimed and maintained online. Applications for Universal Credit can be made online at: 

Apply for universal Credit here

Further information about Universal Credit can also be found using this link. For people that do not have online access, they will need to go to their local library, CAB office, or we can help them with online claiming at the Civic Offices. The Benefits Division can also offer Personal Budgeting Support advice for people that need guidance to manage their finances once they have claimed Universal Credit.

There is a freephone Universal Credit helpline which is available. You should contact the helpline if you have any questions or your circumstances change and you’re already getting Universal Credit

The Freephone Universal Credit helpline is:                              Telephone: 0800 328 5644

How much Universal Credit will I get?

What you will receive will depend on your circumstances.  Universal Credit is calculated as a basic allowance for a single person or a couple plus additional amounts for:

Each child or young person you are responsible for

  • If you have a ‘limited capability for work’ (this means that you are unable to work due to illness or disablilty
  • Child care costs If you have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person
  • Housing costs (mortgage interest payments and rent payments)  

More information can be found at How much universal credit will I get?  

How is Universal Credit paid?

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears directly into your bank or building society account. It is a single monthly payment which means that it is your responsibility to budget to pay your expenses which includes your rent.

If you are a Council Tenant and you are used to Housing Benefit being paid weekly direct to your rent account, that will no longer happen with Universal Credit. Your Universal Credit payment will include an amount for your Housing Costs and you then need to pay the full rent liability to the Council.

Universal Credit can be paid directly to your landlord but only if you have rent arrears or you are unable to manage your own finances.

Universal Credit and Landlords

The DWP has issued guidance for landlords whose tenants receive Universal Credit. These guides can be found at: Landlord information regarding Universal Credit


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