This is the information you will need to help you make a claim for Universal Credit (UC). Making sure you have the information to hand will speed up your online claim.
You can claim online using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
What you need to apply
- Personal Information: name, address, email address (see ‘Getting an email address’ below) telephone and/or mobile number;
- your bank, building society or credit union account details (see ‘Opening a Bank Account below);
- information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay (See ‘Adding housing costs to UC below);
- details of any income or earnings, for example payslips;
- details of any savings and any investments;
- details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs;
- details of any health conditions or caring responsibilities you may have; and
- details of all benefits you receive.
Verification of identity
You have to verify your identity either online or by telephoning the UC helpline on 0800 012 1331. You will need some proof of identity for this, for example your:
- driving licence;
- passport; or
- debit or credit card
If you do not have internet access in your home there may be various options available near you.
- Apex offices in Derry and Belfast will provide Digital access if required (Ask your Housing Officer or Welfare Advice Officer for details).
- At your Jobs & Benefits Office there will be a Digital Zone with PCs and free WiFi whilst your nearest library will have PCs, free WiFi and sometimes basic IT classes on offer.
- A library is free to join you just call into any library bringing proof of identification with your name and current address (e.g. a bill or driving licence). Your library card can be used in any public or mobile library in Northern Ireland.
- Your local Further Education College, your nearest community group or advice centre may also offer access to the internet and many coffee shops offer free WiFi which may be an option. You should check you are logging on to a secure Wifi source.
Getting an email address
For claiming Universal Credit it is essential you have a valid email address to open your account. Some of the most well-known webmail providers include Gmail, Outlook.com (formerly known as Hotmail), and Yahoo! Mail. All of these services are free to use and because you can get into them through a web browser on a PC/tablet/smartphone so you can check your email just about anywhere.
Further information is available on the government’s website nidirect: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/email-internet-and-social-media
Opening a bank account
If you already have an account into which benefits or wages are paid this can be used to receive Universal Credit payments. If you do not have an account you will need to open one so you can receive your Universal Credit payment. An account with a bank or building society is the preferred option.
When opening an account you will need to provide ID to prove name and address. Your chosen provider will explain which documents they will accept. Documents could include:
|UK driving licence with current address
|Gas, water, electricity, cable TV or landline phone bill (less than three months old); (Mobile phone bills are not acceptable)
|Blue Disabled Driver’s pass (current)
|UK credit card, mortgage or bank statement – (no older than three months)
|National Identity card (photographic)
|Household or motor insurance certificate
|Electoral ID card Original
|Vehicle Registration document
|Translink Senior SmartPass
|Current TV licence
|Inland Revenue card issued to self-employed people in the construction sector
|Correspondence from Benefits Agency (dated within the last six months)
|Student ID/registration card (student account only)
|Current rates bill (issued within the last 12 months)
|HM Revenue and Customs tax notice for the current or next tax year
|UK Armed Forces ID card
|Tenancy agreement/letter from the Housing Executive or housing association
The Consumer Council NI provides information and resources: http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/money-affairs/banking-information-and-resources/ about choosing and opening a bank account.
Universal Credit Contingency Fund
It takes on average 5 weeks to receive your first payment of UC. The Universal Credit Contingency Fund is a non-repayable grant to cover living expenses if you find yourself in financial difficulty at any stage between applying for Universal Credit and receiving full payment of your first award – subject to meeting eligibility criteria. More information on this can be found at: Discretionary Support.
Adding housing costs to a UC claim
If you already have a UC claim you will need to report a change of circumstances to your claim on the date your Tenancy commences. This is usually the Monday after you receive your keys.
You will need the following information:
- Your postal address (including postcode)
- Landlord details: Apex Housing Association Ltd, 10 Butcher Street, Londonderry, BT48 6HL
- How much rent and service charge is paid (if in doubt ask your Housing Officer)
To add housing costs to a UC claim follow these steps:
- Log on to your UC account, go to the Home Page and select ‘Report a change of circumstances’ then select ‘Where I live and how much it costs’.
- You will then be asked what has changed to which you select you have moved address.
- You will be asked to enter your new Postcode. If your house number does not appear, select the option to add address manually.
- You will be asked what date you moved into the property; enter the date your Tenancy commenced.
- When asked the type of accommodation, select ‘rent from council or housing association.
- Confirm the number of bedrooms in the property and who is named on the Tenancy.
- Enter the weekly amount of rent and weekly service charge separately. The Rates charge is not included in the UC claim. Select there are no rent free weeks.
- Indicate your ‘name is on the rates bill’ and you will be ‘applying for a reduction in your rates’ (see below on further information on how to apply for Rates Rebate).
- Confirm all details are correct and submit.
A payment for rates is not included in the housing element of Universal Credit.
Once a UC award is made you can apply online for help with rates. You will need your personal details, email address, postal address and Tenancy Reference Number which your Housing Officer will provide.
You must make a Rates Rebate Account and apply online at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/create-or-log-rate-rebate-account
– tick the box to confirm your name appears on the rates bill; and
– tick the box to say you require support with rates.
If you are having difficulty applying for Rates Rebate, for example, your house number does not appear after you enter your postcode online, please telephone Rates Rebate on 0300 200 7802 to complete the claim.