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Universal Credit FAQs

A number of changes to benefits and the welfare system will be made in the next few years. You can find a brief overview of the changes below.

Universal Credit is a new benefit that brings together six of the existing “legacy benefits” to simplify the benefits system and help ensure people are better off in work, these are:

  • Income Support
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Universal Credit is paid as a single monthly payment, directly to your bank account, similar to a wage.

To apply you must:

  • Under pension credit age - if you are unsure when you will reach pension credit age you can check this online
  • Have an email address
  • Have a bank account.

To apply for Universal Credit you need to make your application online.

Before you claim make sure you have the information you will need in front of you, a checklist is available online.

Not all benefits are included within Universal Credit. If you are eligible for any of the following you will need to apply for them separately: 

  • Council tax support
  • Carer's allowance
  • Contribution-based jobseeker's allowance and employment and support allowance
  • Disability living allowance / personal independence payment (PIP)
  • Child benefit
  • Social fund
  • Statutory sick pay
  • Statutory maternity pay
  • Maternity allowance
  • Industrial injuries disablement allowance
  • Bereavement benefits

You will need to apply for Universal Credit if:

  • Your postcode falls into what is called "Full Service" this means the area you live in has started operating Universal Credit
  • A change in your circumstances means you need to make a new claim for any of the six legacy benefits.

If you are not sure, contact us, and we will tell you whether you need to apply.

Unlike the other benefit types, all elements of Universal Credit are paid on the same day each month, unless that day falls on a weekend or bank holiday, in this case will be paid the Friday before. 

Universal Credit is paid directly in to your bank account.

With Universal Credit you will be provided with an online account you will be able to communicate with your Work Coach and manage your claim.

If you are living in temporary or supported accommodation you will still need to claim Housing Benefit for your rent, but would claim Universal Credit for your income instead of Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance.

Some families, with more than two children, will still be able claim “legacy” benefits including Housing Benefit.

You must be under Pension Credit age.

If you are not sure, contact us for further information on this and information on whether you should claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

You must apply online. 

Once you have done this you will provided with an account which allows you to manage your claim yourself including reporting any changes in circumstances.

Where you have no access to the Internet or a suitable device, you can receive help at City of Lincoln Council, North Kesteven District Council, as well as any of our outreach access points.

If you need help finding a free computer to use you view the online map of free access points in Lincolnshire.

If you are unable to access the internet to process your claim you should call the Universal Credit Helpline 0800 328 5644 - open between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (closed on bank and public holidays) so that they can assist you in finding an alternative.

Once you have completed your claim for Universal Credit your online account will be created.

Your account provides:

  • A journal 
  • A to do list 
  • Your claim details
  • Payment information
  • A messaging tool to speak with your Work Coach


You will no longer receive letters in the post as you will receive any communication about your claim through your online account. 

You can use the benefits calculator to estimate that amount of Universal Credit you might be entitled to.

Your email address will be used so that you can make your application and access your online account.

You cannot have an online account without one. 

You will need to sent an email account up if you don't have one already.

You can create a free email account at a number of different providers such as, GmailYahoo or Windows Live mail.

You will receive your Universal Credit payment once a month directly in to your bank.

The payment is made monthly in arrears.

It make take longer than a month to receive your first payment so you should discuss this with your Work Coach and budget appropriately. You may also wish to apply for an advance payment.

You can read more information on the payment cycles online.

Yes you can only receive your Universal Credit payment directly in to your bank.

Many banks offer basic bank accounts, visit Money Advice Service website for further information.

You will need to make an online application for Council Tax Support in addition to your application for Universal Credit.

You will be offered budgeting help and support with your application for Universal Credit. This will help you with budgeting and advice.

We have our own own dedicated team of Benefits and Money Advice Officers, if you need help you can complete the online form and we will contact you within two working days. 

If you would like personal budgeting support you can ask for it at any time from your Work Coach.

If you need help managing your money speak to your Work Coach or complete the online form and we will contact you within two working days. 

If your income is less than your outgoings you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment

A Discretionary Housing Payment can help you with costs such as rent, rent deposits and moving costs if you are moving someone more affordable.

Our online interactive map shows where there is free access and support.

There are free computer access points in:

  • City of Lincoln Council Offices
  • North Kesteven District Council’s offices 
  • ONE NK at North Hykeham

Heckington and Ruskington have volunteer led IT sessions:

  • Heckington Methodist Church Hall, Wednesday 2pm to 4pm
  • Ruskington Methodist Church Hall, Thursday 2pm to 4pm

Sessions are free and are run on a drop-in basis. The groups rely on volunteers from within the community for advice. All helpers have varying levels and areas of expertise; some can use laptops and desktops, some prefer iPads and tablets and some prefer smartphones.

If you can't find what you're looking for visit our contact us page for a number of options which may help.