Service announcement

Online forms, My Account and the (Eastbourne only) online planning application system are unavailable from 6pm Wednesday 21st March to 8am Thursday 22nd March while we carry out an essential upgrade. We apologise for the inconvenience. 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new single benefit for most people of working are who have no or low income.

If you claim from Eastbourne Borough Council, Universal Credit has already been rolled out, if you claim from Lewes District Council the full roll out is September 2018.

Universal Credit will only affect a few people at first but will eventually replace several unemployment and low-income benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment. It will replace:

  • Income Support  
  • Working Tax Credit      
  • Child Tax Credit        
  • Housing Benefit    
  • Income related Jobseekers' Allowance

  • Income related Employment Support Allowance

This short video explains more What is Universal Credit?

More information about how Universal Credit is different and how to apply can be found on GOV.UK - Universal Credit

This benefits calculator can tell you what you might be able to claim

Who can claim

Everyone of working age can claim for but there are some exceptions.

You will not claim for Universal Credit if:

  • There are 3 or more children in your household

  • You receive only one form of tax credit

  • You are part of a couple where one of you is of pension age

You can find out more about eligibility on GOV.UK - eligibility

How Universal Credit is different

  • You can only apply for Universal Credit online – there are no paper applications.

  • From the day you make your first claim you will not receive Universal Credit for the first 7 days. There will then be an average six week wait before you receive the money for your first claim.

  • It is important to claim as soon as you know you need help. Payments may not be backdated if you don’t claim as soon as you need help.

  • Payments are made monthly, directly into your bank account. You will then be responsible for using this money to pay for your housing.

  • Therefore, it is important that you set up an email address and bank account before you need to claim and ideally as soon as possible.

  • You will need certain personal information before you can complete an online application.

When applying for Universal Credit you will also need to apply for Council Tax Reduction

Getting ready for Universal Credit

  1. Find somewhere to access the internet regularly
    Universal Credit claims can only be made online.

  2. Set up your own email address
    You can’t use a friend or relative’s email address.

  3. Set up a bank account
    Payments are made monthly and can only be paid directly to your bank account. You will need a bank account that can set up Direct Debits.

  4. Verify your identity GOV.UK

What you need to make a claim

  1.  An email address

  2. Your national insurance number

  3. Your Bank account details

  4. Details of any savings and earnings

  5. Details of other benefits including child benefit references

  6. If you are part of a couple a code will be issued allowing the other partner to enter details on their own account

  7. If you are a private tenant you will need proof of rent

Getting an advance on your first payment

If you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment, you can apply to get an advance.

The amount you get could be some or all of your first estimated payment.

You pay the advance back from your Universal Credit payments over the following 12 months (or sooner). This means you’ll get less each month until it’s paid off. You won’t pay back more than the amount of your advance.

For more information on how to apply for an advance payment go to GOV.UK - get an advance

If you claim from Lewes District Council the full roll out will be in September 2018.

If you claim from Eastbourne Borough Council, the full roll out was in October 2017

We are asking Eastbourne Housing tenants to let us know they are ready by completing this short form.

Are you ready for Universal Credit?       

Once you let us know you are ready for Universal Credit we will know to stop sending you reminder information. 

Help setting up a bank account

If you have found it hard getting a bank account you can contact the East Sussex Credit Union. You can do this by phoning 0300 303 3188 or visiting

Help with making a claim

If you are eligible for Universal Credit and you need to make a claim Jobcentre Plus in Eastbourne can help you with this. To book an appointment call 0845 604 3719

Help with getting online

You can get online free of charge at most libraries. You can also ask the library for help with using the internet and setting up an email address by booking a session with a Computer Buddy.

You can do this by visiting Booking a library computer – 

How the council can help

The council will be holding daily drop-in advice sessions at their office at 1 Grove Road from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. Please come and speak to us if you have any questions. You do not need to book for these sessions.

Other help available

East Sussex benefits helpline - for advice about benefits including how Universal Credit could affect you.

Call: 0333 344 0681

Universal Credit Helpline - to request an advance payment. It can take up to 6 weeks to get your first payment so this could tie you over until then. You will need to pay back this loan.

Call: 0345 600 0723
Text: 0345 600 0743

Eastbourne Citizens Advice Bureau give lots of useful information on their website including a list of what you need before you can apply and a fact sheet on preparing for your first Universal Credit interview.

Call: 03444 111444

Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme - crisis support.

Call: 0300 3309494