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Universal Credit in Colchester

Universal Credit is being introduced in Colchester using a phased approach. It is planned that Universal Credit will be fully introduced in Colchester in July 2018. More information can be found here

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit that has started to replace six existing benefits with a single monthly payment if you are out of work or on a low income.

It is planned to eventually replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Who is responsible for Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit and is not administered by Colchester Borough Council.

What you need to know before you apply for Universal Credit

Some of this information may not be needed to start your claim, but you will need to provide it before you can receive your first Universal Credit payment.

If you aren't able to provide this information it may mean that your first payment is delayed.

You will be asked for:

  • your email address
  • your telephone number
  • your postcode
  • your National Insurance number
  • proof of your nationality
  • your housing details
  • details about people who live with you -  such as your partner, children you are responsible for, or lodgers
  • Child Benefit reference numbers, if you receive Child Benefit
  • employer details, if you or your partner are working
  • details about any earnings or other income you or your partner have
  • details of any savings, investments or other capital you or your partner have 
  • details of any other benefits you receive 
  • information about your health
  • details of the account your payments will go into, such as a bank, building society or credit union account. This will need to be a current account, not a savings account, and should be in your name. If you don't have one, the Money Advice Service website can help you choose the account that's right for you

Claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in exceptional circumstances. You must make your claim immediately.

Once started, you must complete your application in one go as you cannot save your progress for later. Please make sure you have enough time to finish the form which takes up to 40 minutes.

Apply for Universal Credit

Universal Credit This link opens in a new browser window

Do I still need to apply for Housing Benefit if I have claimed Universal Credit?

No - if you claim Universal Credit, in most cases, you cannot access Housing Benefit. Your housing costs will form part of the Universal Credit payment. Please remember to inform Colchester Borough Council if you have claimed Universal Credit as your Housing Benefit claim may need to end. Certain types of rental liability will still be paid through Housing Benefit even if you claim Universal Credit. This is particularly relevant if you live in supported accommodation. 

Will Local Council Tax Support be included in Universal Credit?

No - You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax costs within Universal Credit. You must make a separate online claim for Local Council Tax Support.

Local Council Tax Support is still administered by Colchester Borough Council

How will Universal Credit be paid?

  • Universal Credit is paid differently from current benefits. It is paid once a month, usually into your bank or building society.
  •  If you live with your partner and both claim Universal Credit you will receive a single payment that covers you both.
  •  Any help you get with your rent will be included with your Universal Credit payment and you will then pay your landlord yourself.
  •  Visit the Money Advice Service Website to get help budgeting and planning for Universal Credit.
  •  If you do not have a bank account you will need to open one before you can be paid Universal Credit.

Can I still apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if I am claiming housing costs as part of Universal Credit?

Yes - even though Universal Credit is not administered by Colchester Borough Council we are still responsible for deciding DHP applications.

If you need extra help with your housing costs you should continue to complete our online DHP form  Apply for Discretionary Housing Payment

More Information

For more information about Universal Credit visit:

GOV.UK - Universal Credit

GOV.UK - Universal Credit - Frequently Asked Questions

DWP - Get ready for Universal Credit

If you have difficulty accessing a computer, need support to complete the online form or any other issues relating to Universal Credit we may be able to help. Contact us on 01206 505855 for further details of where you can receive support.