Universal Credit

Posted 29.11.17

From October 2017 Universal Credit will be rolled out across Gateshead

This will replace:

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

Universal Credit is designed to be claimed online, if tenants don’t have access to the internet or are not confident using a computer, the jobcentre can tell the, about local services that can help.

Young people aged 18 to 21 who make a new claim for Universal Credit who are out of work will not be automatically entitled to housing support.  There will be some exceptions for vulnerable people who can’t live with their parents and for those who were in work for at least six months before making a claim.

Universal Credit and current benefits compared

Current benefits and tax credits Universal Credit
How it’s paid If a tenant doesn’t have a bank, building society or credit union account, their payment can go into a Post Office card account or – in some circumstances – onto a Simple Payment card. Directly into the customer’s bank, building society or credit union account.
How often it’s paid Benefits are normally paid fortnightly and tax credits are normally paid weekly or every four weeks. Universal Credit is paid monthly.
Number of payments Each benefit is paid separately. A single Universal Credit payment.
Help with rent Housing Benefit can be paid straight to the landlord. The housing element of Universal Credit (help with rent) goes direct to the customer who has to arrange their own rent payments to their landlord.
Who receives the money Some of the benefits and tax credits being phased out can be paid to either partner in a couple and some go to the partner who does most of the childcare. Universal Credit is a single payment per household into a nominated bank account. If a couple are claiming Universal Credit the bank account can be in the name of either partner or a joint account in both names.

Other differences with Universal Credit

The claims process and what happens to someone’s payments when they start working (or increase their hours) are also different under Universal Credit.

Current benefits Universal Credit
How to claim People can claim benefits and tax credits by completing paper forms, over the phone or sometimes by filling in forms online. Most customers will make their claim for Universal Credit online, although anyone who needs it will be able to get face-to-face advice or help over the phone.
Working and claiming If someone is working 16 hours or more per week they will no longer qualify for some benefits. There are no limits on how many hours a week someone can work if they’re claiming Universal Credit. Instead the amount of Universal Credit they get will gradually reduce as they earn more.

A number of safeguards are in place to support tenants and help them manage their money.  Budgeting support will be offered when claimants first receive Universal Credit.  This support can be money advice, or, depending on their individual circumstances, an advance of benefit.

A claimant can ask for a Universal Credit new claim advance if they’re in financial need and can’t manage until their first monthly payment of Universal Credit.  This will be a proportion of the full payment and will be recovered over a period of time.

Alternative Payment Arrangements and Managing Rent Arrears 

If a tenant gets into difficulty paying their rent, the landlord can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA) Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL) which will be considered on a case by case basis.

More detailed information about Personal Budgeting Support and Alternative Payments Arrangements can be found at

Tenant in Rent Arrears

Information from third parties such as family members, support workers and the claimant’s landlord can be considered when assessing a claimant’s ability to manage their finances.

Personal Budgeting Support and/or an Alternative Payment Arrangement may be deemed appropriate for those claimants who are not yet in arrears with their rent but who may benefit from advice around managing their Universal Credit award or money management.

DWP can refer the claimant to Personal Budgeting Support and/or consider Alternative Payment Arrangement,

Applying to have the rent paid to landlord (Management Payment to Landlord Alternative Payment Arrangement)

If you have a tenant receiving Universal Credit you can apply for a Managed Payment to Landlord (MPTL) using the UC47 request forms which are available at the website.  Once the application has been processed the landlord will be advised of the decision.  If the application is refused DWP  won’t tell you the reason why.  This is because of the data sharing regulations and claimant confidentiality.

The amount you receive may change from month to month depending on the claimant’s Universal Credit award, usually up to a maximum value of the eligible housing costs.  DWP will notify you when the MPTL ceases but won’t tell you the reason why, again because of the data sharing regulations and claimant confidentiality.

Questions, queries or non-compliance issues can be raised directly with the Universal Credit Service Centre by:

  • telephoning 0645 600 0723
  • emailing   (This email is for use by landlords to escalate issues related to Advanced Payment Arrangement (APA) issues and rent arrears)

If there is a threat of eviction landlords are asked to note the subject field accordingly ‘Potential Eviction’.  It must not be used for new APA requests or for raising any other issues.

Advice about what information DWP can disclose to landlords about their tenants can be found in the document Universal Credit: Housing Costs and Disclosures which can be found at