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Universal credit

Universal Credit has replaced a range of benefits and tax credits for people of working age.

If you claim one of the following benefits you WILL be affected.

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

You WILL NOT be affected if you or your partner receive Pension Credit.

Universal Credit is a single, monthly payment of benefits that includes financial help towards rent.  It is paid into a bank or Post Office account every month in arrears and it is the claimant’s responsibility to pay their rent from their Universal Credit payment.

Whether you can claim it and the way you manage your claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. There are currently two Universal Credit services operating across Greater Manchester.

Universal Credit Full Service

People on the ‘full service’ have an online Universal Credit account to manage their claim. They can use their account to report changes, send messages to their work coach and find support. Eventually all Universal Credit claims will move over.

Universal Credit Live Service

People who live in a ‘live service’ area manage their claim by phone. They will soon move over to the ‘full service’. If you’re affected, the Government Department for Work and Pensions will notify you of this. Please don’t ignore this, if you don’t register for your full service account within the given time, your Universal Credit will stop and you may face up to six weeks without any income. 

Has something changed?

If you claim Universal Credit any changes to your circumstances may affect how much Universal credit you are able to claim. You are responsible for telling the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes.

If this happens, you will have to apply for and manage your Universal Credit online. To get ready for these changes there are some simple things you can do now to make sure you can manage your money and pay your bills.

what you need to know

53 week rent year

In 2019/20 there are 53 weeks in the rent year. If you pay us monthly you will need to work out your monthly payment, here’s how to do this:

*if you are on an agreement to repay arrears you will need to include this amount when working out your monthly payment*

Why are there 53 weeks in this rent year?

There are 365 days in a year, and 366 days in a leap year. However, as the calendar year is split into 52 weeks of 7 days, this only equals 364 days, creating a ‘spare’ day each year. The means that every 5/6 years there is a 53 week year to account for these ‘spare’ days.

Your Universal Credit payment (housing element)

The DWP base your UC payment on 52 weeks, our Income Management Officer, Lesley will be contacting those customers in receipt of Universal Credit that pay monthly, not by Direct Debit, to discuss their individual circumstances, but in the meantime if you would like any further information please e-mail

What YOU need to do now

Follow these four simple steps to make sure you're ready for Universal Credit 

  1. You will manage your Universal Credit online so make sure you have access to the internet. This could be on a computer, tablet or even your mobile phone. If you don’t have access, your local Job Centre, library or local authority will have facilities that you can use. They will also have details of courses to help you to manage your money online. You will also need an email address so if you’ve not got one already, set one up today.

  2. Make sure you have an account for your payments to be paid into. Choose an account that lets you receive automated payments and set up direct debits for your bills. This will help you to pay your bills on time and manage your money. If you and your partner are both eligible for Universal Credit you may want a joint account.
  3. Draw up a budget. The Money Advice Service provide a free online budget planner visit As Universal Credit is paid monthly, you’ll have to start managing your money monthly. Always prioritise paying your rent.

  4. Make sure you have all the information you will need to apply for Universal Credit. This includes photographic ID, such as a passport or driving licence, your rent details and the name of your landlord. We have provided the details about your rent on the handy pull out card. Please keep this safe in your wallet or with your rent statements, so you have it to hand when you need it.

irwell valley homes income management team can help…

  • With Universal Credit and other welfare benefits
  • You to sustain your tenancy by providing information and support
  • You to get online by referring or signposting to services
  • With budgeting, setting up a bank account or accessing a Credit Union
  • You to manage any debt

Call us for a confidential and informal chat on 0300 561 1111 (this is included in any inclusive calls made from a mobile and low cost for all landlines).

You can also find out more about Universal Credit in this short video