Universal Credit guidance for tenants

Do you receive Universal Credit?

If the amount you pay in rent goes up or down, while you are receiving Universal Credit, you must tell the Universal Credit office.  We cannot do this for you.  You must tell them straight away to make sure you get the right amount each month.  If you are overpaid you will have to repay the money.

You should also tell the Universal Credit office about any other changes to your circumstances.  Find out how to report changes

Roll Out of Universal Credit

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. Here in Tendring all benefit claims will move to Universal Credit from April 2018.  To make sure you get the right amount, you will need to claim as soon as possible.  This is because Universal Credit claims cannot be backdated, unlike the current housing benefit.  If you have difficulty making your claim, please ask the Citizens Advice Bureau or your local Job Centre for help as soon as you can.

If you want to claim Universal Credit and Local Council Tax Support, you will need to claim these separately. 

How to claim Universal Credit

How to claim Local Council Tax Support

Before April 2018 some changes in circumstances will mean you continue to receive Housing Benefit while others will mean you move to Universal Credit.  Here are some examples:

  • A household receives JSA Income Based and Child Tax Credit and starts working.  They will qualify for Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.  They will also continue to be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit and receive a rent reduction (depending upon whether they qualify).
  • A household receives Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit and stops working.  They will lose the Working Tax Credit element.  They will need to claim Universal Credit, instead of claiming JSA Income Based.

More information about Universal Credit including a benefits calculator can be found at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

Universal Credit Two Children Rule

If you claim the wrong benefit you may not get the full amount that you’re entitled to.

If you have 1, 2 or no children or qualifying young persons you can make a new claim for Universal Credit.

If you have 3 or more children or qualifying young persons you cannot make a claim for Universal Credit, unless:

  • You have received Universal Credit within the previous six months and are re-claiming, or
  • You are making a new claim as a single person within one month of a previous joint claim ending, because you are no longer a couple.

If you are a new Universal Credit claimant with more than two children or qualifying young persons, you will also need to apply separately for Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit and any other benefits that you may be entitled to.

Alternative Payment Arrangements

Universal Credit is paid monthly to encourage budgeting skills and help get ready for work.  However, if you are having financial difficulties you may be able to receive additional support such as Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs).

Depending on your circumstances, you could get an APA to:

  • get your rent paid directly to your landlord
  • get paid more frequently than once a month
  • receive split payments, if you’re part of a couple

If you would like your rent paid directly to us, please contact the housing rents team

Paying Your Rent

If you have any questions about your rent payments or amount, please contact the housing rents team as soon as possible at RentsTeam@tendringdc.gov.uk. We want to help you avoid getting into debt. We can work with you to help you understand your finances and where your money is spent. You can arrange a confidential appointment by contacting your arrears officer or the rents team.

Download a budget form

We will do all we can to help you remain in your home. We may be able to help with financial support such as discretionary housing payments and exceptional hardship payments for rent and council tax costs. You would need to talk to your arrears officer or rents team to find out if you can claim any extra financial support.

Last updated on: 12/10/2017 - 09:38