What’s different?

What’s different about UC

Universal Credit works differently from the benefits it is replacing and it’s important to know the differences.

The biggest differences are:

  • You will need to make and maintain your claim online.
  • It doesn’t matter whether you are in work or not – it’s there to top up your income and help you pay your essential bills.
  • It’s a monthly benefit, so you’ll usually get a single payment each month, rather than several payments weekly or fortnightly.
  • Instead of getting Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord, your rent will usually be paid directly to you as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment (as a Housing Costs Element).
  • You will have to agree a claimant commitment in order to claim it – and whenever your work coach changes the terms of your commitment – otherwise your claim / award will stop.
  • If you are in employment the DWP will access your wage information from HMRC.
  • The Benefit Cap reduces the whole of your Universal Credit award and so you can lose more benefit than you could with Housing Benefit.

IMPORTANT: If you are currently affected by the Benefit Cap and receive just 50p a week in Housing Benefit you could be worse off on Universal Credit. So if you are told to claim UC get advice first!