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

If you claim any of these benefits, 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


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 related 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.

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 0800 328 5644 for help and advice on making an online claim. The line is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm.

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: 0800 328 5644
  • Textphone: 0800 328 1344

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

Other help and support

Help with paying my Council Tax

If you are entitled to Universal Credit and are liable to pay Council Tax, you may be eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Oldham Council is responsible for awarding Council Tax and you must claim this separately from Universal Credit.

Free school meals

If you have children, your entitlement to free school meals will be assessed when you claim Council Tax Reduction. If you receive Universal Credit and are not responsible for paying Council Tax , you can claim Free School Meals.

Help with finding work

Our Get Oldham Working team can help you find employment

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. 

Information for landlords

Free and impartial money advice