The Introduction of Universal Credit
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Universal Credit will replace:
- Income Support
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit is calculated as a basic allowance for a single person or a couple plus additional amounts for:
- Each child or young person you are responsible for (with extra amounts if they are disabled)
- Child care costs
- If you have a ’limited capability for work’ (This means that you are unable to work due to an illness or a disability)
- If you have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person
- Housing costs (mortgage interest payments and rent payments if you are unemployed)
You will get the full amount possible if your household has no other income and has less than £6000 savings. There will be no award if your savings are over £16000.
Universal Credit will be paid once a month and paid direct into a bank account. Your claim and your account will be accessed and managed online.
You’ll have to accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’ if you want to get Universal Credit. This is an agreement that you’ll complete certain tasks in order to claim Universal Credit. What you agree to do will depend on things such as your health, your responsibilities at home and how much help you need to get work or increase your income.
Universal credit has been designed so that it is payable even if you are working or if you are not. If you are on a low income and are moving in and out of work Universal Credit will remain in payment and be adjusted to suit your new financial circumstances.
When will this affect me?
From April 2015 single people in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or making a claim for Job Seekers Allowance will make a claim for Universal Credit instead.
Throughout 2015, 2016 and 2017 claimants will be transferred over to this benefit. You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits you will be told when Universal Credit will affect you.
If you would like to know how Universal Credit will affect you please use the Entitled to Benefit Calculator. This calculator will show you how your financial circumstances will change should you go into work and how much Universal Credit you will get when you are moved onto the scheme.
How will I be Paid?
Universal Credit is a monthly paid benefit which includes any housing costs. To pay your rent you will need to set up a direct debit to your landlord. Some tenants who receive supported housing will continue to receive Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit. Separate consideration will be given to those who cannot manage their own finances or who consistently go into arrears.
What can I do to prepare for this change?
It is important that you have a bank account as Universal Credit is paid directly into an account. The account has to have the ability to set up standing order to pay your household bills and rent.
If you feel you need some guidance on how to mange your household finances there are a number government backed websites that can offer help and advice. Please see the useful websites link for further information.
If you would like to know more information about Universal Credit please see the useful website link as there are a number of websites available to further guide and advise you.
How do I make a claim for Universal Credit?
If you fall under the group of households that should be claiming Universal Credit you will need to do this online as Universal Credit is claimed and maintained online.
There is a helpline which is available. You should contact the helpline if:
- you have any questions
- your circumstances change and you’re already getting Universal Credit
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888
Welsh language (report changes): 0345 600 3018
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
- If you do not have access to a computer you will be able to make a claim at the Job centre
- Self service suite in the Customer Service Centre at Southend Borough Council
- Any library in Southend that has internet enabled computers.
Page last updated: 21/02/2017