The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 6 weeks. If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for people of working age on a low income. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and is being introduced gradually across the country; Torbay introduced the scheme on 25 January 2016.

It is a single monthly payment which will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

You can read more information about Universal Credit Opens in a new window or watch a DWP video on YouTube:

  What is Universal Credit? Opens in a new window

Any help you get with your rent will be included in your Universal Credit  Opens in a new window payment and you will be responsible for paying your rent to your landlord.

Help with council tax is not included in Universal Credit payments.

You must apply to us for Council Tax Support. If you don't send your Council Tax Support claim to us when you apply for Universal Credit you may have to pay your full council tax.

Apply for council tax support

You must:

  • Be single
  • Be a British national with a valid National Insurance number and normally reside in Great Britain
  • Be aged between 18 and 60 years and 6 months
  • Either be out of work or have expected net monthly earnings of £338 or lower

  You must not:

  • Be homeless, in supported accommodation or own or part own your home
  • Be receiving or waiting to hear about a claim or an appeal for Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Income Support or Housing Benefit
  • Be entitled to Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments or Carers Allowance
  • Have more than £6,000 in savings and capital
  • Be responsible for any children, be pregnant or have had a baby in the last 15 weeks
  • Be required by Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission to pay child maintenance
  • Be responsible for caring for someone
  • Have a fit note unless found fit for work by ESA work capability assessment, or be in a period of self-certification awaiting a fit-note
  • Be making a claim through some type of appointee
  • Be a company director or in a limited company partnership
  • Not be self employed
  • Not be in any form of education or training, nor expected to start within the next month 

If you’re already claiming benefit you don’t need to do anything.

You have to claim Universal Credit online. This can be on a computer, smart phone or tablet.

Apply for Universal Credit  Opens in a new window

Once started, you must complete your application in one go as you cannot save it for later. Please make sure you have enough time to finish the form which can take up to 40 minutes.

Claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in exceptional circumstances so you must make your claim immediately.


If you don’t have access to the internet you can use the computers at the Job Centre.

Connections offices also have public computers that are free to use and there is free internet access for all registered library members.

Book time on a computer  Opens in a new window

Help getting online

If you don't know how to use the internet or need help to get online there are computer help sessions available at the Torbay libraries.

Help with your claim

If you need help making your claim the Universal Credit helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm: 

  • Telephone: 0345 6000 723
  • Text phone: 0345 6000 743

Find out about call charges  Opens in a new window