Ukrainian Information Centre
Universal Credit is a payment to help you with living costs, for example, paying for things like water, electricity, gas, food and transport. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income, unemployed or cannot work for other reasons.
Your Lead Worker can provide you and your host with guidance on how to apply for this on the following website: Universal Credit – Make a Claim
If help is needed to pay bills or cover other costs while waiting for the first Universal Credit payment, an advance application can be made. The most advance that can be made is the amount of the first estimated payment. The applicant can apply for an advance payment through their online account or through the Jobcentre Plus work coach. The applicant will need to:
- explain why the advance is needed
- verify identity (they’ll do this when they apply online or on the phone with a work coach)
- provide bank account details for the advance
The applicant will usually find out the same day if they can get an advance. The advance will need to be repaid. They start paying it back out of their first payment.
You can choose how many months you pay the advance back over, within the time limit. You must usually pay back the advance within 24 months. You do not pay interest on it - the total amount you pay back is the same.
If you have questions about how Universal Credit works you can call:
- 0800 328 5644 to speak to Universal Credit Full Service
- 0800 144 8444 to speak to Citizens Advice Help to Claim
Support for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine: Understanding Universal Credit
If you are over the State Pension age and on low income, Pension Credit gives you extra money to cover your living costs.
Pension Credit is separate from your State Pension, and you are able to get it even if you have other income.
To find out how much you could get, use the Pension Credit Calculator
Depending on circumstances and/or age, Ukrainian refugees may be eligible for:
- Housing Benefit
- Personal Independence Payment
- Child Disability Living Allowance
- Carers Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
Those who meet the criteria may be eligible for the contributions-based 'New Style' Employment and Support Allowance or 'New Style' Jobseekers Allowance. The Jobcentre or Citizens Advice are best placed to advise on benefit entitlements based on circumstances.
To receive Universal Credit and other benefits, your guest will need to open a bank account. They can open a bank account by visiting any bank. They will need to have documents that show their identity, immigration status and possibly proof of address. Some banks are more flexible about the proof of address requirement so it can be worth doing some research and shopping around. Their Lead Worker can also provide a letter of verification if that is required by the bank.
Translation services are available to help new arrivals with phone applications, and Work Coaches in DWP Jobcentres can support people making claims online.
DWP staff are also delivering additional face-to-face assistance to those who need it – including support to find work and advice on claiming benefits.
Entitledto is an independent benefits calculator that can help people identify benefits they may be eligible for. Ukrainian guests have the same eligibility for any welfare benefits as UK Citizens for the duration of their visa.