Universal Credit

UNIVERSAL CREDIT

Click here to download Universal Credit leaflet.

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people aged between 18 and Pension Credit (PC) age:

https://pensioncreditcalculator.dwp.gov.uk/pension-credit-calculator.php?new

This calculator will give an indication of your Pension Credit age. Pension Credit age will vary depending on your date of birth so if in any doubt, just ask.

We have been on ‘Universal Credit Full Service’ since November 2017. This means that claims for:

  • Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (IB JSA),
  • Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (IR ESA),
  • Income Support (IS),
  • Child tax credits,
  • Working tax credits,
  • Housing Benefit.

are no longer possible and you must (in most circumstances) claim Universal Credit. You are currently not able to claim Universal Credit if you have more than 2 children.

The frequency of payments being made will also change as Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears. Although there may be some exceptions for vulnerable people, it is essential that all tenants have a way of paying their rent as soon as they receive their Universal Credit payment. We realise that this is a huge change and some people may struggle to prioritise essential payments such as rent. If this is the case, contact our Welfare Reform Officer who will be able to talk through all of your options.

In most cases the first payment of Housing Element (your rent) will be paid directly to you.  We can help you log in and check the payment so that you know exactly what needs to be paid to your rent.  In your second assessment period you will be asked via your journal if you would like payments made directly to your landlord and if you would like your Universal Credit paid twice a month.  These can help if you’re not used to dealing with your money monthly.

If you are moving to Universal Credit directly from Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) then you should be treated as still being unfit for work – in a lot of cases this hasn’t been adhered to by the DWP which can result in you losing money!  Get in touch if this has happened to you and we’ll try to resolve it with you!

Bedroom Tax and Benefit Cap still apply in the UC system.

 

 

WHAT CAN I DO?

Budget Carefully

It is important that you get more information and advice. This will allow you to budget for the changes and plan ahead to reduce any negative effects. If possible, start paying your rent in advance in order to prepare for when Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears. Ask your work coach for Personal Budgeting Support delivered by the CONNECT team to help with making your money go further.

Get a bank account

With the introduction of Universal Credit, all benefit payments will be made direct to you. It will be extremely important that you have a bank account as your housing benefit payments will be paid to you and not to Abertay Housing Association.

You are responsible for the payment of your rent. Should you not pay your rent and go into arrears, you may risk losing your home.

Having an account will help you manage your money, set up monthly direct debits and take the worry out of budgeting. If you don’t have a bank account speak to our Welfare Reform Officer who will provide you with further details.

Get online

As mentioned above, under the new system, the vast majority of benefit claims will be made online. If you need help getting online, contact our Welfare Reform Officer for more information.

Contact us

If you are worried about how these changes will affect you, or you need further information, contact our Welfare Reform Officer as soon as possible – don’t bury your head in the sand.

Richard
Welfare Reform Officer
Tel: 01382 903545
Email: queries@abertayha.co.uk

 

USEFUL RESOURCES

Here are the links to other useful websites that provide information on Universal Credit.