Winter support and coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance

Colchester Borough Council is providing support for residents, businesses, and communities throughout winter. The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant. Check the guidance on GOV.UK for what this means for you.

Universal Credit

Find out more about Universal Credit and who can apply.


  • What Universal Credit is and who can apply for it.
  • How to apply for Universal Credit.
  • How Universal Credit will be paid.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) 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. 

Universal Credit is for working age claimants only.

Universal Credit Full Service was introduced in Colchester from 4 July 2018.

It is planned that it will eventually replace: 

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Working Tax Credits

  • Child Tax Credit

  • Housing Benefit

Local Council Tax Support does not form part of Universal Credit.

If you claim Universal Credit and need help with your Council Tax cost then do not forget to apply for Local Council Tax Support with Colchester Borough Council. 

Apply for Local Council Tax Support

Who can apply for Universal Credit in Colchester?

You can make a claim for Universal Credit if you are of working age and you are out of work or on a low income.

You can read more detailed guidance on eligibility for Universal Credit here

Make a claim for Universal Credit

However, if any of the below exemptions apply you need to make a claim for Housing Benefit:

  • You are living Specified Supported Exempt Accommodation;

  • You are living in Temporary Accommodation;

  • You are entitled and remain entitled to Severe Disability Premium (including those who have had a break in claim but have been entitled within the last month).

Apply for Housing Benefit

How can I apply for Universal Credit?

You can apply for Universal Credit online.

You will need an email address to set up an online account. Once you have set up an online account you will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit. You will have 28 days to make the claim. We recommend you make your claim immediately as you might miss out on entitlement.

Apply for Universal Credit

Do I still need to apply for Housing Benefit and Local Council Tax Support?

If you live in Specified Supported Exempt Accommodation, Temporary Accommodation or are entitled to Severe Disability Premium you will still have to claim Housing Benefit.

Apply for Housing Benefit 

If you claim Universal Credit and need help with your Council Tax cost then do not forget to apply for Local Council Tax Support with Colchester Borough Council.

Apply for Local Council Tax Support

How will Universal Credit be paid?

Your Universal Credit payment will be paid to you once a month.

If you live with your partner and both claim Universal Credit you will receive a single payment that covers you both.

It will take five weeks from the time you make the Universal Credit claim to the first payment date.

You will be required to provide 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 can help you choose the account that’s right for you.

If you have require further assistance setting up a bank account we may be able to help.

Alternative Payment Arrangement

The move to a single monthly household payment will be a significant change to the way most benefits are currently paid.

The following Alternative Payment Arrangements will be available to help claimants who are identified as needing additional support:

Paying the housing element of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment direct to the landlord:

  • More frequent than monthly payments

  • A Split Payment of an award between partners

How to Request a Managed Payment:

The claimant, or their representative can make this request. If the claimant (or representative) is making the request, this can either be:

  • During the Initial Interview or subsequent Work Search Interview with their Jobcentre Plus work coach, or

  • By phoning Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644.

Landlords can use the form available on GOV.UK – UC47 to apply for a managed payment of the housing costs and recovery of rent arrears.

Once UC receives this information they will decide whether or not a managed payment is appropriate and inform both the landlord and claimant. The claimant will also be offered Personal Budgeting Support.

Two week Run On

From 11 April 2018, a two week transition to Universal Credit Housing Payment is being awarded to Housing Benefit claimants who naturally migrate to Universal Credit by awarding an additional two weeks Housing Benefit entitlement from the date of the Housing Benefit stop notification.

You will receive full Housing Benefit entitlement based on you maximum eligible rent for the two week payment

You do not need to do anything about this, the Local Authority will award this for you. 

Additional Information for Landlords

Read more about Universal Credit, how it affects your tenants and what you can do to help on:

What universal credit means for landlords

Read more information

For more information about Universal Credit visit these pages: