How to increase your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit

Posted on 16 February 2023

Do you receive Universal Credit (UC) or Housing Benefit (HB)? If you do, you’ll need to let the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) know that your rent has increased, or you might end up paying the incorrect rent or have your UC or HB stopped altogether.

It’s also important to tell DWP at the right time. If you receive Housing Benefit, you need to tell them about any rent increases right away, by contacting the benefits department at your local council.

However, Universal Credit is different; you have to wait until the actual date of the rent increase that’s stated in the letter we send you.

Increase your Universal Credit to match your new rent

To notify UC about your rent changes, you need to sign into your online account, and update your housing costs. All the information you’ll need is in the letter we send to you in February. If you don’t have an online account, call the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644. Remember to have your rent letter to hand.


Do this on the day your rent changes, which is stated in your letter, or before the end of your monthly assessment period. We recommend keeping your letter in a safe place and putting a reminder in your phone or calendar and doing it on the day.


Log into your UC online account. When you’re signed in, you may see a new notification on your ‘To-do-list’. Click on this task link and follow the instructions:

Or, if it’s not in your To-do-list:

  • Go to your home page
  • Go to ‘Report a change’
  • Select ‘Report a change’
  • Go to ‘Where I live and what it costs’
  • Follow the instructions.

Take a look at our step-by-step guide

What you’ll need

Everything you need will be in your rent letter from us. We send them out in February in the same pack as your service charge estimate. You’ll need to know:

  • Your new rent amount
  • The date your rent is changing to that new amount
  • Whether you’re charged your rent weekly or monthly. Note this is how you’re charged, not how you pay. We may charge you monthly, but you prefer to pay weekly. Or the other way around.
  • If you also pay service charges, you’ll need these new amounts too. Details of all your service charges will also be in your letter:
    • You’ll be asked for rent first. You must enter the amount exactly to the penny or your payments may get blocked. Don’t round the number up or down
    • If you pay service charges, you’ll then be asked for this new amount. Please also enter this amount exactly to the penny
  • Review all the information and confirm.
  • This will then appear as an entry into your Journal (next to your To-do-list). The entry will look something like this: 

This guide can also be seen in our Rent changes sheet (PDF, 45KB).

Remember, it’s important to update this so that you don’t fall into rent arrears. It’s our priority to help you remain in your home, but it’s your responsibility to manage your UC.

If you’re worried that you can’t pay your rent, we can provide expert support and guidance. The earlier you tell us that you need help, the easier it is for us to provide assistance. Talk to your Income Officer or visit our Helping Hand pages today.