Universal credit

Image: 2 people using a calculator and working out their universal creditA new payment system known as "Universal Credit" has been introduced as part of the Welfare Reform Act.

This will bring about changes to how people's benefits are paid.

Universal Credit replaces a number of benefits including Housing Benefit with one single monthly payment for your household.

If you and your partner are eligible for Universal Credit, you will receive one payment rather than two. 

This payment will then be paid to you monthly in arrears. Universal Credit currently applies up to the age of 60 years and 6 months.

Image: Universal credit logo

What benefits does it replace?

Universal Credit will replace the following payments:

•    Housing Benefit
•    Income Support
•    Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
•    Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
•    Child Tax Credit
•    Working Tax Credit

Your Housing Benefit will no longer be paid directly to us, it will be paid straight to you. This means that you will become responsible for paying your rent on time.

How will Universal Credit be paid to me?

It will be paid monthly into your bank account so you will need a bank account to receive Universal Credit payments.

It might be a good idea for you to open a separate bank account to receive your Universal Credit payment. This way, your payment won’t be mixed up with your current cash. Find out more about how Universal Credit is paid.

You can find out more from the Money Advice Service about opening and running a bank account.

How can I pay my rent to Optivo?

Just like loans and credit card bills, it is essential that you pay your rent first and on time. You do not want to get into debt.

The easiest way is to set up a bank account first and then pay your rent by Direct Debit. Click to find out how to set up a direct debit 

How will I manage my Universal Credit payments?

You will have to make and manage your claim online. If you do not have regular access to the internet or IT equipment you can contact us for support.

If you would like to brush up on your IT skills you can find free beginner computer courses at UK Online Centres.


Universal Credit timetable

If you need to make a new claim to benefit and live with your partner, or have children, you will only be able to claim Universal Credit if you live in a jobcentre area listed below:

  • Croydon
  • Hammersmith
  • London Bridge
  • Purley
  • Richmond
  • Sutton
  • Thornton Heath
  • Hastings

All of the jobcentres above are also part of the digital full service. This means that claimants with children will have to claim Universal Credit when making a new claim for benefits.

Here are a list of all the postcodes. If you make a new claim to benefit and live in one of these postcodes then you will be on Universal Credit:

  • CR0, CR2, CR3-0, CR3-4, CR3-5, CR5, CR6, CR7, CR8, CR9, CR9-0
  • SE1, SE16-2, SE16-4, SE16-5, SE16-6, SE16-7, SE25
  • SM1, SM2, SM3-8, SM3-9, SM4, SM5, SM6, SM7-3
  • W6, W14
  • TN19, TN20, TN311-6, TN31-7, TN32-5, TN33-0, TN33-9, TN35-4, TN35-5, TN36-4, TN37-6, TN37-7, TN38-0, TN38-8, TN38-9, TN5-6, TN5-7, TN34-1, TN34-2, TN34-3, TN34-9

Single jobseekers can claim Universal Credit in any jobcentre in Great Britain.

Preparing for your Universal Credit interview

Before you can claim Universal Credit you'll need to go to an interview at your local Jobcentre to finish your application. This can be called ‘work search interview’ or ‘claimant commitment interview’. Find out how to prepare for your interview here.  

Universal Credit FAQ

If you've got some more queries on Universal Credit, check out our FAQ.


Are you a landlord concerned about Universal Credit?

We hope you'll find this tool kit - which shares good practice - a useful guide.

Universal Credit - childcare element

Your Universal Credit will include a child element if you are responsible for a child or ‘qualifying young person’ who normally lives with you.

You will receive a higher amount for your first or only child, and a lower rate for each of your other children.

  • You can find out more information about this here.
  • To find out what a qualifying young person is click here.


How we can help:

We're passionate about helping our customers to save money. And there are a number of ways we can help, including offering support on:
  • The best way to budget
  • How to open a bank account
  • How to claim benefits and understand the welfare benefit reforms
  • Top tips to reduce the cost of your bills
  • Grants and schemes you may be eligible for.


Contact us today to find out how we can help - simply use the form below to get started.  You can also contact us in a number of other ways to find out more information about how we can help.
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