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Find out when and if Universal Credit affects you

Some Gateshead residents will have to apply for a new government benefit called Universal Credit.

This replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Anyone who would have made a new claim for these benefits will need to claim Universal Credit. 

Please note if you want help towards paying your Council Tax, you still need to apply to the council for Council Tax Support

Who should and should not claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a 'working age' benefit payable to those aged 18 up to 'pension credit qualifying age'. Check your state pension age (opens new window). If you are part of a couple, one of whom is of pension age and one of whom is of working age, you would claim Universal Credit. The exception to this is if the younger member of the couple is receiving income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support, in which case you would be able to claim housing benefit. 16- and 17-year-olds could also receive it in certain limited circumstances.

You can claim Universal Credit towards your daily living needs only, but need to claim Housing Benefit from the council for help towards your rent if:

  • you live in exempt supported accommodation
  • you have been placed in temporary accommodation by the council

If you have moved partway through your Universal Credit assessment period, you will not get any help through Universal Credit for that period towards the rent for the property you have moved out of. This may leave you with rent arrears. If you need to, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover this period.

For more information visit the website (opens new window) or contact the Universal Credit service centre on 0800 328 5644. This is a free service. 

Understanding Universal Credit (opens new window) provides information for

  • people who want to make a claim
  • people who have already claimed
  • organisations who advise people about Universal Credit

How do I get help with my Council Tax if I am on a low income?

Universal Credit does not replace Council Tax Support. We still deal with reductions to your Council Tax if you have a low income. Visit our Council Tax Support webpage to apply.

Getting ready for Universal Credit 

The government has produced a Universal Credit Planner (opens new window). This will help you identify any changes you may need to make so you can manage your Universal Credit claim.

You can also visit Universal Credit in Action's Youtube channel (opens new window) for some explanatory videos.