Universal Credit

Universal Credit – Are you ready?

From May 2018 some of our customers who are working age, that experience a change to their circumstances, may be required to apply for a new benefit called Universal Credit. 

If you are not sure what it is all about or whether it will affect you, go to our Frequently Asked Questions below and follow the links that apply to you


What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new in and out of work benefit that will eventually replace the following benefits;

Income related job seekers Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Child and Working Tax credits.

Because it replaces all of these benefits it is open to people in a wide range of situations; in work, looking for work, unable to work through sickness or caring responsibilities.


What has happened since May 2018?

Anyone who made a new claim for any of the six ‘legacy benefits’ that Universal Credit is replacing has to claim Universal Credit instead. Full Universal Credit rules will apply to them and stops any claims to those ‘legacy benefits’.


What about someone on ‘legacy benefits’ already?

If you have a change of circumstances which means a claim for another ‘legacy benefit’, you will normally have to claim Universal Credit instead and any legacy benefits will stop however there are some exceptions e.g. If you have 3 or more children, you will need to make a claim as normal for the ‘legacy benefits’ you are eligible for (this is for an interim period, Universal Credit plan to incorporate those with 3 or more children into their system in 2019).


Who will claim Universal Credit?

Eventually by 2022 everyone who is of working age and was claiming any of the above benefits will be in receipt of Universal Credit.


How is Universal Credit paid?

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears to your bank account. In some cases this can mean a wait of up to five weeks for your money and you will need to plan for this now.


What do I need in order to apply for Universal Credit?

You will need a bank account, e-mail address and access to the internet, as all applications are made online. There are many places where you can access the internet and get support if you don’t have access at home.


What does this mean for my family and me?

It is important to start planning now and ask yourself: How will I manage, if I have to wait for a Universal Credit payment for up to five weeks? If you rent your home from us we would like to know you have applied for Universal Credit so we can support you through the process.


I was receiving Housing Benefit. What will this mean for me?

As long as you prove you have a rent liability by providing a rent statement or tenancy agreement, your housing costs (formally housing benefit) will be included in your Universal Credit payment to your bank account. See next question about paying your rent.


My housing benefit used to go straight to my landlord who pays it now?

You do! It’s important that you ensure you pay your rent from your Universal Credit as your housing costs (formally housing benefit) will be included in your monthly payment. Contact us and we can chat through the different payment options with you, as not paying your rent will put your home at risk.


How do you claim?

Online by following this link


How is Universal Credit calculated?

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit so how much you are entitled to depend on your own personal circumstances and your income (and savings).


I’m in work but receive child tax credits and working tax credits will I claim Universal Credit?

Yes! The DWP will work out and decide if they require you to be available for and looking for more hours and/or better pay; this will depend on your circumstances.


Is there a limit to how many hours I can work with Universal Credit?

There is no limit to the number of hours you can work a week if you get Universal Credit. Your payment will reduce gradually as you earn more. You will not lose all your benefits at once if you are on a low income.


Will I still be entitled to childcare costs?

Workers with childcare costs may be entitled to some help towards these (up to 85% of the childcare costs). You can find out more about this by using the Universal Credit Website.


I still have a few questions where can I get further answers or advice?

Contact us and we will be more than happy to help or go to the Universal Credit Website or follow this link to the Money Advice Service website.

Please remember that advice and support is available from us.