Universal Credit support

What is Universal Credit?

You may have received a letter about Universal Credit or watched the news recently.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK and this will happen here from 13th December onwards.

Universal Credit (UC) replaces several current means tested benefits with one monthly payment and is paid to people in or out of work.

From 13th December some households who make a new claim or have a change in their circumstances (e.g. move house, have a baby) will have to claim Universal Credit if they were previously claiming one of the means tested benefits listed below:

Which benefits does UC replace?

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

If you are receiving Child Benefit, PIP (or DLA) or child maintenance you will continue to receive those payments separately.

Who will qualify?

Universal Credit is available to working age people who are in full-time work or part time work, who are unemployed, sick or disabled, single, lone parents and couples.

You can claim Universal Credit if you own your house, a tenant, or is you live in someone else’s household (e.g. your parent’s house).

If you are claiming one of the above benefits but do not have any change of circumstances then you will be transferred onto Universal Credit but this will not happen until at least July 2018 (the exact date is not yet known).

You don’t need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances. There is currently a six week wait when you do apply for Universal Credit so you may want to think about how you can put some money aside in advance.

Where to go for support with Universal Credit?

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
CAB can help you with your applications, appeals, debt advice and budgeting.
Advice line - 03444 111 444  (Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm)
Debt Advice Line 0300 323 2000 Monday to Friday 9am to 12 noon

Woodhouse Close Church, Proudfoot Drive, Woodhouse Close
You can get help with budgeting, food bank, clothes and furniture
Mon – Fri 9am to 12pm Tel:  01388 450838

Shildon Salvation Army, Cross Street, Shildon
You can get help with budgeting, food bank and ICT support
01388 644277     Opening times vary

Shildon Alive19 Church St, Shildon, DL4 1DS 

Provides help with benefit claims, access to computers and other support.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri. 10am-4pm

Credit Unions

Credit unions can help you to save money, budgeting and provide low cost loans.

NEFirst Credit Union
Tel: 0330 055 3666            https://nefirstcu.co.uk;

Woodhouse Close Church & Community Centre, Proudfoot Drive
Thurs. 9.30 – 11.30
Dene Valley One Stop Shop, High St. Eldon Lane, 
Tues. 10.00 – 12.00
Shildon Alive, 19 Church St, Shildon, DL4 1DS Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri. 10-12pm

Prince Bishops Community Bank (Credit Union)
01388 417 830
22 Finkle Street, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7PL (Next to bus station)
Open Mon - Fri 10:00 - 16:00
Phone Lines Open Mon - Fri - 10:00 - 16:00


Food Banks
If you are struggling you can request a voucher for your local food bank through your GP surgery, Citizens Advice Bureau, Welfare Rights, Age UK.

You can find out about your local food banks on 0191 303 7559.

Feeding Families North East

To donate or receive a food hamper you can contact Feeding Families North East through their Facebook group. It can take a few days to receive a food hamper.

Durham Carers 
If you are caring for someone else you can get help with accessing and completing benefit and grant forms, support groups, respite and training.

Tel: 0300 005 1213/ http://www.dccarers.org


Access to Computers and ICT support


The local libraries in Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Coundon, Shildon and Woodhouse Close have ICT support sessions where you can access the computers and support with your applications.

Auckland Youth & Community Ctr

Walker Dr, Woodhouse Close
01388 604575  Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm

Jobcentre Plus

Market Place, Bishop Auckland

Mon, Tues, Thurs, and Fri 9am - 5pm, Wednesday 10am – 5pm

Eldon Community Centre

Main Road, Eldon, Bishop Auckland,

01388 775955 Opening times vary

Dene Valley One Stop Shop

High Street, Eldon Lane, Bishop Auckland 
01388 417 740      You can access ICT, job seeking support, credit union


Shildon, 51-55 Church Street, Shildon, DL4 1DT

Drop in for support using email, job search sites, training and more.

Every Monday from 1.30pm – 3.30pm


Domestic Abuse

If you or your children are in immediate danger always ring 999.

Wear Valley Women's Aid 

To speak to a member of the team urgently please phone:

Monday – Friday; 9am – 5pm 01388 600094
24 hour urgent support line: 07946 190 203


Harbour is a specialist domestic abuse service who can help people who live within County Durham. You can contact Harbour on 03000 202 525 or by email info@myharbour.org.uk

You can download an advice leaflet here.

National Domestic Violence Helpline

National helpline: 0808 2000 247

You can also contact your GP, health visitor, social worker, housing officer, MP's office or the police, who can get advice on your behalf.

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