Universal credit: How to claim
How much you'll get
Your universal credit payment is made up of:
- a monthly standard allowance
- any additional amounts that apply to you
If you're not working, this is what you get unless you're affected by the benefit cap.
Your universal credit payments can go up or down if your income or circumstances change. This is assessed every calendar month.
Use entitledto’s benefits calculator to get an estimate of how much you can claim
The standard monthly allowance is:
|Single claimant under 25|
|Single claimant aged 25 or over|
|Joint claimants under 25|
|Joint claimants aged 25 or over|
Additional amounts, sometimes called elements, can be claimed for:
- a disabled child
- limited capability for work-related activity
- carer commitments
- childcare costs
- housing costs
How much you get towards housing costs
The housing element of universal credit helps you pay:
- mortgage interest
- some service charges such as cleaning or maintenance of communal areas
You can't get the housing element if you pay rent to a close family member who you live with.
Your housing element is usually paid directly to you as part of your single monthly universal credit payment. It's your responsibility to pay your full rent to your landlord.
Use entitledto’s benefits calculator to get an estimate of how much you can get towards housing costs
Housing cost contributions
If you rent, deductions known as housing cost contributions are made from your housing element for each non-dependant in your household.
Non-dependants are usually adults who live with you on an informal basis. For example, a friend or family member who doesn’t pay rent.
Your housing element will be worked out using the local housing allowance rate (LHA) for your area.
Your LHA rate is based on:
- Where you live in the UK
- The number of bedrooms you’re entitled to under the rules
You can usually only get the shared accommodation rate if you are single and under 35 with no children.
Council and housing association tenants
Your housing element will be based on your eligible rent and how many bedrooms you have in your home.
Eligible rent is the amount of rent you pay minus any service charges that Universal Credit doesn’t cover.
Service charges not covered include:
- heating, water or lighting in your home
- personal care and support
The number, age and sex of those in your household affect how many bedrooms you can claim for.
Your housing element will be reduced if you have too many bedrooms.
Hostels, refuges, supported or temporary accommodation
You can claim universal credit if you live in these types of housing but you might not get the housing element as part of your universal credit payment.
You have to claim housing benefit as well if you don't get the housing element.
Ask your landlord or housing provider if you don't know whether to claim housing benefit at the same time as universal credit.
If you’re a homeowner you may be able to get help with your mortgage interest and certain leasehold service charges.
Support for mortgage interest loan
If you're unemployed or can't work, you can apply for a support for mortgage interest loan (SMI) but not for the first 9 months of your universal credit claim.
You can get help paying the interest on up to £200,000 of your mortgage or loan if you qualify.
SMI payments are paid directly to your lender. These payments are secured against your home at a variable interest rate.
You must repay the loan and interest if you:
- sell your home
- transfer ownership to someone else
Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter
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