universal credit: what you need to know  

UC is one monthly payment to help you cover your rent and living costs.

You can usually get UC if you or your partner you live with are of working age,  have no money coming in/ have a low income and you are:

    • A British or Irish Citizen;
    • A refugee or have humanitarian protection;
    • Have settled status under the EU settlement scheme and;
    • Have indefinite leave to remain
    • If you 16 or 17 you can also claim UC if you don’t live with your parents because you’re estranged or they can’t support you financially.

You apply online and all appointments are over the phone. If you can’t get online, call the free UC helpline on 0800 328 5644. 

You will have to wait for at least 5 weeks before you get your payment. You can ask for an advance if you need money urgently. This will have to be paid back by taking it away from your future UC monthly payments.

COVID-19 means that more people are applying for UC so there might be a delay in processing your application.

universal credit is not your only option if you are struggling financially:

  • You may be entitled to the furlough scheme. Find out more on the Citizen’s Advice webpage on the Job Retention Scheme.
  • You could get statutory sick pay (£95.85 a week) if you have a job and are unable to work and have coronavirus symptoms  or you live with someone who does.
  • Depending on your situation you can use the Entitledto, Turn 2 Us and Policy in Practice benefit calculators to see which benefits you could get.
  • Make a referral to akt and we can help you figure out what benefits you might be entitled to.

some handy resources:

  • Shelter’s webpage on benefits is full of useful information on the type of benefits you can claim, who is eligible and the process of applying. Citizens Advice Bureau also have similar information. 
  • The government’s webpage also includes information on the different types of support you can get if you’ve been affected by Coronavirus, from accessing food to  mental health and wellbeing support.

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