Service announcement

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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 was rolled out in the BN1 9 and BN2 8 postcode areas in November 2017.

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

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: benefits calculator on

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 on GOV.UK verify 

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 six 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: 0344 411 1444

Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme - crisis support.

Call: 0300 330 9494