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What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a means tested benefit that is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It replaces the following in-and-out of work benefits (commonly referred to as legacy benefits) for working-age applicants:

Legacy Benefits:

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

If you live in Sefton, it will no longer be possible to claim any of the above ‘legacy benefits’ unless you fit into one of the following groups:

If you are single you are classed as a pensioner once you have reached your 66th Birthday.

If you are part of a couple**, you are classed as a pensioner if you have both reached your 66th Birthday.

If you are part of a couple and only one of you have reached your 66th Birthday, in most cases this will mean you may need to claim Universal Credit. However, couples who were already claiming Housing Benefit or Pension Credit as at 14/05/2019, may be able to stay on Housing Benefit and Pension Credit, and in certain, specific cases may be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

**You are part of a couple if you live with your partner. A partner is someone you are married to or have a civil partnership with, or a person you live with as if you were their husband, wife or civil partner.

Tenants of certain types of Supported Accommodation will receive help with their rent from Housing Benefit, rather than Universal Credit, even if they receive Universal Credit for their other living costs.

This provision is restricted to accommodation which is classified as 'Specified Accommodation'

Specified Accommodation includes the following: -

  • Domestic violence refuges
  • Homeless Hostels (but not self-contained properties)
  • Properties owned by either Housing Associations, registered charities or voluntary organisations and you require and receive support in your home which is more than minimal.

In most cases, if you live in supported housing, your landlord should be able to tell you whether or not your home is classed as 'Specified Accommodation' or not.  Alternatively, you can ring the council directly for further advice or guidance on this matter.

However, as a general rule, the following categories of tenants do not fall under the definition of 'Specified Accommodation':

  • Tenants of sheltered accommodation for over 50s
  • Tenants who receive low levels of support or floating support which amounts to less than 2 – 3 hours per week.

All customers in receipt of Universal Credit still need to claim Council Tax Reduction for help toward paying their Council Tax. You can apply Council Tax Reduction in the 'Do it online' section of this page.


Last Updated on Tuesday, July 27, 2021

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