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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 April 2018.

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.

Who can claim Universal Credit in Colchester?

You can claim Universal Credit if you are starting a new claim and you are a single person, without dependent children, who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). It could include those with existing Housing Benefit claims.

What you need to know before you apply for Universal Credit

To apply for Universal Credit you will need the following information:

  • your National Insurance number
  • details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit will be paid
  • your rent agreement (if you have one)
  • details of any savings and other capital
  • details of any non-work income - for example income from an insurance plan
  • details of any other benefits you already get.

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.