About Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit that is being introduced by the Government to replace six existing benefits with a single monthly payment.

Universal Credit is replacing:

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

If you claim any of the benefits above, you may be asked to claim for Universal Credit.

To find out what you’re likely to be entitled to use the GOV.UK benefits calculator

Our Get Oldham Working team can help you find employment


This change affects claimants when they:

  • Make a claim for the first time
  • Have a change in circumstances that means their existing claim for income-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), income-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit (HB), Working Tax Credits (WTC), Child Tax Credits (CTC) or Income Support (IS) has to be cancelled.

There are a number of exceptions, for full eligibility criteria for Universal Credit please see GOV.UK's eligibility page

How to claim

Universal Credit is a benefit that is claimed and managed online. All applications must be made at GOV.UK

As well as applying online you will also need to attend an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

You’ll get your first payment around six weeks after applying online if your application is successful.

You will need to claim council tax reduction and free school meals separately

Before you start

Once you start your application online, you can save your application and return to it but you will need the following information:

  • National Insurance number
  • Details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
  • Your rent agreement (if you have one)
  • Details of your savings or other capital
  • Details of any income that’s not from work (e.g. from an insurance plan)
  • Details of any other benefits you’re getting.
  • Email account details and mobile phone number
  • Photo ID e.g. driving licence

You will also need these details for people who live in your home, e.g. your partner. 

If you don’t have any of the information listed above, please contact Job Centre Plus on 0345 6004272 for help and advice on making an online claim The line is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

Common Problems

Access to the internet and computers

Some claimants do not have access to the internet and computer at home. Others may feel concerned about applying online if they lack skills.

Email accounts

Under Universal Credit, you must have an email account. This is used instead of traditional post to communicate with you. However, some claimants do not have an email address. Setting up an account is quick and relatively easy, even if you don’t have great digital skills. The consumer body, Which? provide some helpful advice on setting up email addresses

Bank accounts

Under Universal Credit, payments must be made into the claimant’s bank, building society, credit union or Post Office account – they cannot be issued by cheque or other means. They also cannot be issued to relatives’ bank accounts – you have to have your own. If you’re in debt or have CCJs, don’t worry. You’ll still be able to get an account.

Challenging decisions

Oldham Council funds an independent and impartial Welfare Rights Service which can help you challenge or query benefit decisions that you feel may be incorrect or unfair.

The quickest way to contact them is by filling out our form:

Alternatively, call 0161 770 6655 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Change of circumstances

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and have a change of circumstances (e.g. a partner or dependent child moves in to your house, you start work or move house) you must report this to the DWP on:

  • Telephone: 0345 600 0723
  • Textphone: 0345 600 0743

If you need to supply the DWP with proof of your circumstances such as income, capital or rental agreement you must post these to:


Universal Credit

Faraday Court

Faraday Way

Blackpool, FY2 0SQ

Welfare Rights Service

Worried about how benefit changes might affect you? Phone lines are open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Tel 0161 770 6655
Benefits Advisers

Advisers at Access Oldham can talk you through the benefits, how to claim them & additional support.

Civic Centre
West Street
Oldham, OL1 1UG
(For Sat Navs use OL1 1NL)