Universal Credit is replacing certain benefits in parts of the UK. You may be able to claim if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits – you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. How soon your benefits will change to Universal Credit depends on your circumstances. See the information below or visit GOV.UK for more.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work, which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.

    It replaces:

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

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears directly into your bank account.

When does Universal Credit start in Stafford?

Universal Credit has already been introduced in Stafford. It currently affects newly unemployed single people.
If you are already claiming one or more of the benefits being phased out (see 'What is Universal Credit?' above), you should carry on claiming as normal. You will be told when you need to do anything differently.

However, if your circumstances change, you may be asked to claim Universal Credit instead. The first seven days of a new claim for Universal Credit are known as waiting days and are excluded from your benefit claim. Don’t let this delay your claim and apply as soon as you are asked to do so.
Universal Credit claims can only be managed online.

Paying your rent and other bills with Universal Credit

Once you start receiving Universal Credit you will be responsible for paying your rent to Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and paying all your other bills.
See Rent and Payments for further advice.

Get the right bank account for Universal Credit

You will need to have an account that can receive automated payments.

    Suitable accounts:

  • Bank account
  • Building Society account
  • Credit Union ‘Jam Jar’ account - see below for more information
  • Post Office® account
Jam Jar account for Universal Credit

Credit Union Staffordshire offer an easy to use Jam Jar account consisting of a basic bank account linked to a prepaid payment card with no transaction fees for SARH Customers. Your wages and/or benefits are paid into the account.

You decide much you need to set aside for rent and bill payments then put the remaining money onto the prepaid card for spending, so you can be sure that when rent day (or bill day) comes, the money will be there to cover the payment.

Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit

Jobseeker's Allowance is now part of Universal Credit for newly unemployed single people in Stafford. You can apply for Universal Credit to help you while you look for work. How much you get depends on your circumstances.

Benefits calculator

Use an independent benefits calculator to find out:
• what benefits you could get
• how to claim
• how your benefits will be affected if you start work

Benefit cap

There’s a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. This is called the benefit cap.

Are you ready for Universal Credit?

Do you have a Bank Account?
See 'Get the right bank account for Universal Credit' above, speak to the Money Advice Team at SARH or visit a Money Advice surgery (see below) to find the best option for you.
Have you set a budget?
You will be responsible for paying your rent directly to Stafford and Rural Homes.
If you are worried about how you will manage for money until you get paid, contact us.

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Have you tried our Frequently Asked Questions? See www.sarh.co.uk/faq