What is Universal Credit?
The government has introduced a new benefit called ‘Universal Credit’ (UC). It brings together six existing benefits and tax credits and replaces them with one monthly payment.
Universal Credit replaces the following:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Universal Credit does not include help with your Council Tax. You must claim Council Tax support separately from your local council.
This is a major change because:
- You have to make a new claim if you wish to receive Universal Credit, and this must be done online here.
- You must have a bank account for the money to be paid into.
- All money you receive will be paid directly to you, in arrears. You will then be responsible for payment of bills, including your rent.
Does this affect me?
You are likely to be entitled to Universal Credit if:
- you are under a pensionable age
- you are on a low to moderate income
- you are no longer in employment
- you have just left school, college or university and don’t have a job that will start immediately
- you have been claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) but have been found fit for work so your ESA award has been terminated
- you have had problems with your ESA which means your award has been terminated
- you have had problems with your Jobseeker’s Allowance meaning it has been terminated (not just ‘sanctioned’)
- you have separated from your partner/spouse
- you have stopped being a carer for a disabled person.
- you are a lone parent on Income Support, and your youngest child has turned five.
From now on, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be looking to transfer existing claims over onto Universal Credit. A change of circumstances or a new claim will start this process. You will be notified directly by the DWP when you can make your new claim.
Preparing to make your claim
- Access to a computer with an internet connection and an email address.
- A bank account in order to receive payment (this can be with a bank or building society). You will need to know the details of your account, especially regarding your income and savings.
- Your personal information such as your phone number, email address, residential address and National Insurance number. You can find your NI number on your payslip, if you receive one, or on your original HMRC National Insurance letter or card. Alternatively, you can call the helpline on 0300 200 3500.
- Information on what other benefits you receive and how much you are awarded (if applicable).
- Details on your childcare (how much it costs etc.) if you wish to claim for childcare.
- Details about your rent and the type of tenancy you have. You’ll find this information in your Tenancy Agreement and/or the ‘Notification of changes to rent and other charges’ letter we have sent you recently. If you are unsure you can contact us on 01202 410500.