Change to Universal Credit for people aged between 18 and 21 years

For people who make a claim to Universal Credit on or after 1 April 2017 aged between 18 and under 22 years of age will not get housing costs paid as part of Universal Credit unless they meet certain exemptions.

 This change applies to:

  • New claims and existing claimants that declare a change to add housing costs for the first time
  • Single claimants in the Intensive work search regime

There are some exemptions to this change. The exemptions apply where the claimant:

  • Is responsible for a child or a qualifying young person;
  • Was a care leaver before reaching the age of 18;
  • Receives the care component of disability living allowance at the middle or highest rate or the daily living component of personal independence payments
  • Is subject to active multi-agency management
  • Is in temporary accommodation provided by a local authority pursuant to their homelessness duties
  • Has been subject to, or threatened with, domestic violence by their partner, former partner, or a family member.

Watch the UC explained film

How to apply for Universal Credit (UC)?
You can ONLY apply for UC online using a computer, tablet or smart phone - there are no paper forms to complete. This means you will need to have use or access to the internet to apply for UC. Read more here.

IMPORTANT: It could take up to six weeks to receive your first UC payment – this means you will not be in receipt of any benefit payments during this time. For some, this may mean they won’t have any money to pay their rent, bills or buy food.

Requesting an advance payment to help during this time
You can ask for an advance payment from the UC service centre if you don’t think you’ll have enough money to live on between when you apply for UC and when you’ll get your first payment.

Be aware: The advance payment is a loan - you’ll have to pay it back. The repayments will be automatically deducted from your UC payments and you’ll get smaller UC payments until you pay back all the advance payment, which will take up to 6 months.

Important UC facts to know:

  • The biggest changes those receiving UC must be aware include:
  • You need to apply for UC online using a computer, tablet or smart phone
  • You need to have a bank account to receive UC
  • You will receive a UC payment ONCE a month (on the same date each month)
  • You will need to pay your RENT yourself out of your UC payment
  • You can only make changes to your UC claim online
  • You will need to budget for all your bills monthly
  • If on UC full service you will have to manage your UC account online

These facts are the general rules to UC – in some circumstances they may vary.

REMEMBER: Rent must be paid first

One of the biggest changes for those on UC will be that they need to pay their rent directly to their landlord – for some this may be the first time they have had to do this. The easiest way to make sure your rent is paid on time would be to set up an automatic payment on the day you receive your UC – either as a standing order or Direct Debit.

If you don’t pay your full rent amount on time, you could end up losing your home. So it’s vital you understand how you can pay your rent – visit our How to pay your rent section.

Remember: No one can live in their home rent free. We don’t want to evict anyone but if they don’t pay their rent and don’t get in contact with us for help, we may have no alternative.

Help and advice:
If you need any support to manage the affects of Universal Credit, please get in touch with our Benefit and Money Advisors.

Did you know?

  • UC won’t affect people of pensionable age - use the online State Pension Calculator to find out if you qualify for a pension.
  • Council Tax Support or reduction is NOT included with UC

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