Universal Credit And The Job Centre Made Easy

If you’re getting financial or housing support from the Home Office, this will stop 28 days after you receive your Biometric Residence Permit, or BRP. The process can seem confusing, so here’s some help breaking down what you need to do next.

After you get your BRP, there are three things you need to do straightaway:

1. apply for benefits
2. get a bank account
3. arrange your housing

With a BRP, you are able to apply for benefits, as well as other activities listed below.


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is a government department which helps you to find work and claim benefits. This is true if you are of working age, as well as if you are of pension age.

The Jobcentre

The jobcentre is a government office which offers information and advice about jobs, and is also involved in processing benefits. Jobcentres are part of the DWP.

Local authority, Local council

Your local authority or local council is responsible for public services and facilities in your area. They can help you to find housing.

Migrant Help

Migrant Help provides advice and guidance to asylum seekers and to refugees after a decision has been made about their claim.

Applying for benefits

Now you have leave to remain in the UK you can get the same kind of support as British citizens. This includes money from the government called benefits. A benefit is money for people who need help because they have a low income.

It is important to apply for benefits as soon as possible to make sure you get the money you need and there is no gap in your income. If you are getting payment or living in accommodation arranged by the Home Office, someone from Migrant Help should contact you to see if you need help applying for benefits. If not, you should apply for benefits online.

National Insurance Number (NINO)

Your NINO will be on the back of your BRP and looks like this: QQ123456A. If there is no NINO on your BRP, you need contact the Home Office.

You do not need a NINO for your benefits claim to be made, but if you do not have a NINO you need to tell DWP at the start of your claim. DWP will apply for a NINO on your behalf as part of your claim for benefits. You do not need to apply for a NINO yourself.
Information you’ll need to claim benefits.

You will need the following information:

• name
• address
• date of birth
• bank details (you can still claim if you do not have a bank account)
• mobile phone number
• email address
• details of where you’re living

How to claim

You can apply for benefits online. Which benefits you apply for will depend on your circumstances. Most people of working age will apply for Universal Credit. To apply for Universal Credit you should submit your claim online.

If you’re unable to use the online service to apply, you can contact the Universal Credit helpline. If English is not your first language you can ask for an interpreter when you call any of the phone numbers.

At the jobcentre

Once you have applied for benefits you may need to phone local jobcentre. At the job centre, they will give you a work coach. This person will support and help you finding work, giving you personalised advice using their knowledge of local work opportunities.


Your asylum support payments end after 4 weeks. If you need help to pay your bills, or cover other costs while you wait for your first benefit payment, you can apply to get an advance. The most you can get in this case is the amount of your first estimated payment and you’ll need to pay the advance back from future benefit payments.

Get a bank account

Now that you have received leave to remain, you’re eligible to open a bank account. You’ll need a bank account to get benefit payments and any money from work. Bank accounts are free to open. You’ll need to show documents that pove your identity, immigration status and address.

Different banks ask for different documents, but you will probably need: photo ID, such as your BRP or driving licence, a proof of address, such as official letters from the Home Office, your doctor, or bills with your name on. If you’re not able to open a bank account, an alternative account such as a credit union account or online banking services can be good options.

Always keep your bank information (including passwords and Personal Identification Number (PIN)) safe.


If you’re living in asylum accommodation, this will only last for 28 days after getting your BRP. Next, you will get a letter from the Home Office or your accommodation provider confirming the date when you need to leave your accommodation.

Local authority housing

You should contact your local authority (also known as ‘council’) housing department for advice as soon as possible if you need help finding somewhere to live. They’ll have a housing office where you can get advice. You can find their phone number on the local authority website. Local authorities have a legal duty to help you find accommodation.

They may provide you with accommodation to stop you becoming homeless or help you to find private rented housing. It is important to tell them if you have health problems or any reasons why you need to live in a particular area, so they can make an assessment of what kind of accommodation you need.

Social housing

Social housing is for people on a low income and is offered at affordable rent. In the UK there’s a very high demand (especially in London) for social housing and it can be difficult to get. It is usually provided by local authorities or by local housing associations.

Private renting housing

Renting from a private landlord is often the only option available, especially if you’re single or a couple without children. You can look on the internet or in local newspapers, shop windows and notice boards, or you can find private accommodation through a letting agency.

Paying your rent

Private landlords will ask for a rent deposit in advance (up to a maximum of 5 weeks rent) in case you fail to pay the rent. They may also ask for the first month’s rent in advance.Your landlord must put your deposit into a tenancy deposit protection scheme and you’ll get this back at the end of the tenancy as long as you have looked after the property. You will need to pay your rent directly to your landlord (for both social or private rented housing).

When you apply for benefits you sometimes get an amount towards your rent. This is usually paid directly to you, so you will then need to pay it to your landlord.


English classes are often free for people on universal credit. These classes are called ESOL. You can find information about ESOL free classes at your local jobcentre.

If you are interested in any of our courses, or if you have any questions about learning English or any of the topics mentioned above, please send us an email at:


Good luck and happy job hunting!