Universal credit

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age who are sick, unemployed and looking for work, or working but on a low income. It was introduced in Sunderland on 2 November 2015 for single people making new claims. From July 2018 it will be rolled out to couples and families.

It will replace:

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

Universal Credit is paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account.

What if I am already claiming working-age benefits?

If you are already claiming working-age benefits, carry on as normal until you are notified by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

What about Council Tax?

Council Tax support isn’t included in Universal Credit. Contact Sunderland City Council.


Families with 3 or more children will not be able to claim Universal Credit until sometime after December 2018.

If you need to make a Universal Credit Claim please let us know.

Applying for Universal Credit

To apply for Universal Credit you will need to visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim.

You will need to make sure you:

  • Have access to the Internet as you can claim and manage your account online.
  • Have an email address set up
  • Have your National Insurance Number to hand
  • Have a bank, building society, credit union or post office account.
  • Details of income and any savings or investments
  • Details of childcare costs
  • Have proof of identity (Driving license, passport, debit/credit card)

If you have already applied or are already claiming Universal Credit please let us know.


  • Universal Credit is paid monthly so you will need to start to think about monthly rather than weekly budgeting. It might be a good idea to start saving, as new claims can take up to 4 weeks.
  • If you are in receipt of housing benefit your rent will no longer be paid to us once you start claiming Universal Credit. You will have the responsibility of paying your rent so make sure you have a payment method in place.

For further information or support on making a claim call the Universal Credit Helpline 0800 328 5644 or visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim.

More information

Gentoo’s Money Matters Team can provide advice and support if you need to make a Universal Credit Claim. They can also help you to budget on a monthly basis.

Your first payment will usually take approximately 5 weeks. If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance.  You can apply for an advance payment through your online account.

Some people find it difficult to manage when waiting 5 weeks for a payment. Our Money Matters Team can make a referral for you at your local food bank. They can also give you details of any free lunch clubs in your local area.

Gentoo has been working with the local community and staff to collect school uniforms. Speak to the Money Matters Team about an event near you where you can pick up school uniforms for your children for a minimal donation.

There are lots of ways to keep your family entertained for free. To find out more visit:



For further information contact our Money Matters Team on 0300 123 2004* or by emailing moneymatters@gentoogroup.com.

Rules have recently changed for new Universal Credit Claimants but you can still get help if you have earnings of less than £7,400 per year. For further information www.gov.uk/apply-free-school-meals