Universal Credit advance
There will be a waiting period between your old benefits ending and your first Universal Credit payment. If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait, you can request an advance payment from Universal Credit.
Advance payments are available to some Universal Credit customers. They are like loans so you will need to pay them back, over time and at an amount specified by Universal Credit.
It is important to get advice on taking an advance as it will reduce the amount you receive from your ongoing payments until it is repaid.
You may wish to notify your landlord that you are moving benefits to make them aware. This is particularly important if you currently receive Housing Benefit that is paid directly to them.
Remember, you will usually be paid the housing costs directly and you are responsible for paying this to your landlord. If you fail to pay the rent to your landlord, you may place your tenancy in jeopardy.
If you think you might struggle to pay the rent to your landlord, you may wish to apply for the payment to be sent to them directly. You can learn more about this from Alternative Payment Arrangements on GOV.UK.
Council tax support
Universal Credit will include any housing costs you are entitled to, but it doesn’t include financial help for council tax.
You may be eligible to receive council tax support through our council tax support scheme. This is means tested and so the amount you receive will depend on how much Universal Credit you get plus any other income or benefits. You can find out more about the scheme on our council tax support page.
Most eligible people who rent a property, whether from a social housing landlord or from a private landlord, will now need to claim for Universal Credit from the DWP. You will not need to make a housing benefit claim from the council.
Some people will still be eligible to make a new application for housing benefit from the council. You are eligible to do this if you:
- have reached State Pension age
- live in supported accommodation or temporary accommodation provided by Bracknell Forest Council
You can find out more about housing benefit on our applying for housing benefit page.
Discretionary housing payment
The figure that Universal Credit will contribute towards your rent is called the Housing Cost Element. It is based on the Local Housing Allowance rate. This is calculated using the:
- number of bedrooms you are entitled
- the postcode of the property you rent
You can find the rates and complete a bedroom calculator on Local Housing Allowance on Directgov.
If your Housing Costs Element does not meet your rent in full, you may be eligible to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Discretionary Housing Payments are a way to support with a shortfall. They provide short term support to give you time to look for other options such as finding cheaper accommodation or seeing if there are other benefits you could be entitled to.
Help for those in financial hardship
We have advice, support and a number of schemes for those facing financial hardship. Go to our cost of living support page for more information.