Universal credit

A new payment system known as "Universal Credit" has been introduced as part of the Welfare Reform Act.Image: 2 people using a calculator and working out their universal credit

This will bring about changes to how people's benefits are paid.

Universal Credit replaces a number of benefits including Housing Benefit with one single monthly payment for your household.

If you and your partner are eligible for Universal Credit, you will receive one payment rather than two. 

This payment will then be paid to you monthly in arrears. Universal Credit currently applies up to the age of 60 years and 6 months.

Image: Universal credit logo

What benefits does it replace?

Universal Credit will replace the following payments:

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

Your Housing Benefit will no longer be paid directly to us, it will be paid straight to you. This means that you will become responsible for paying your rent on time.

For more information about Universal Credit, click here.

How will Universal Credit be paid to me?

It will be paid monthly into your bank account so you will need a bank account to receive Universal Credit payments.

It might be a good idea for you to open a separate bank account to receive your Universal Credit payment. This way, your payment won’t be mixed up with your current cash. Find out more about how Universal Credit is paid.

You can find out more from the Money Advice Service about opening and running a bank account.

How can I pay my rent to Optivo?

Just like loans and credit card bills, it is essential that you pay your rent first and on time. You do not want to get into debt.

The easiest way is to set up a bank account first and then pay your rent by Direct Debit. Click to find out how to set up a direct debit 

How will I manage my Universal Credit payments?

You will have to make and manage your claim online. If you do not have regular access to the internet or IT equipment you can contact us for support.

If you would like to brush up on your IT skills you can find free beginner computer courses at UK Online Centres.

Preparing for your Universal Credit interview

Before you can claim Universal Credit you'll need to go to an interview at your local Jobcentre to finish your application. This can be called ‘work search interview’ or ‘claimant commitment interview’. Find out how to prepare for your interview here.  

Universal Credit FAQ

If you've got some more queries on Universal Credit please check out the support available on the Understanding Universal Credit website.

Are you a landlord concerned about Universal Credit?

We hope you'll find this tool kit - which shares good practice - a useful guide.

Universal Credit - childcare element

Your Universal Credit will include a child element if you are responsible for a child or ‘qualifying young person’ who normally lives with you.

You will receive a higher amount for your first or only child, and a lower rate for each of your other children.

  • You can find out more information about this here.
  • To find out what a qualifying young person is click here.


How we can help:

We're passionate about helping our customers to save money. And there are a number of ways we can help, including offering support on:
  • The best way to budget
  • How to open a bank account
  • How to claim benefits and understand the welfare benefit reforms
  • Top tips to reduce the cost of your bills
  • Grants and schemes you may be eligible for.


Contact us today to find out how we can help - simply use the form below to get started.  You can also contact us in a number of other ways to find out more information about how we can help.
 Get in touch

Being aware of scams

image: AlertScammers have been offering people ‘interest-free loans’ or ‘government grants’’ in return for proof of identify, bank account details and a fixed fee.

Things to look out for:

  • Be suspicious. If something sounds too good to be true , it often is.
  • Never give personal or financial information to somebody you do not know.
  • Remember, Citizens Advice and the Department for Work and Pensions will never cold call you to make benefit claims.
If you have been scammed, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report it and seek advice from your local Citizens Advice.