- What is Universal Credit?
Universal credit is the new benefit that started recently; it is replacing the following 6 benefits for working age people:
• Working Tax Credit
• Child Tax Credit
• Housing Benefit
• Income Support
• Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income based)
• Employment and Support Allowance (Income based)
It is a new single monthly payment for people in or out of work, which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits which you might be getting now.
- Will it affect me?
If you are already claiming one or more of these benefits, you should carry on claiming as normal. You will be told when you need to do anything differently.
If you and your partner are above pension credit age, you will not be affected. People living in supported housing or sheltered housing are also not affected.
- What’s different about Universal Credit?
Here are the main differences:
· You claim Online
· You update your circumstances online every month
· You receive one Universal Credit payment instead of six different benefits
· If you live with your partner and you both get Universal Credit, you will get one monthly payment between you.
Other items to be aware of and consider:
· Your first payment could take several weeks to be paid
· It is paid monthly and there is just one payment per household
· Your payment is usually paid direct into your own bank account
· You pay your own rent- in most cases it won’t be paid direct to us
· If you’re making a Universal Credit claim, please let the Society know straight away
4. Tips to help prepare for Universal Credit
1. Open a bank account with a Direct Debit facility
You will need a bank account in order to receive Universal Credit. Direct Debit makes sure your rent is paid automatically, so you do not have to worry about remembering it.
2. Get Online
Universal Credit must be claimed online, so you will need access to the internet. If you are unemployed, you will be expected to search for jobs online using Universal Jobs Match.
- You can access the internet at a Job Centre or at your local Online Centre. The Post Office can give you a list of your 5 nearest free centres.
- If you need to brush up on your computer skills, call UK Online on 0800 771 234 or visitwww.ukonlinecentres.com. They can help you find courses near where you live.
- Getting online also helps you find the cheapest deals, stay in touch with friends & family and check your bank account.
3. Budget your money
Setting a sensible spending budget helps ensure you will not run out of money before your next payment is due.
What do I do if I need to claim Universal Credit and I feel confused?
Contact your SWHS Housing Officer – 01934 750780