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Universal Credit

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is being introduced in areas of the Derbyshire Dales by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for new single claimants previously eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance from March 2015. It replaces a range of benefits and tax credits for people of working age.

To check if this affects you visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit 

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit for people of working age on a low income and is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It is a single monthly payment which will eventually replace:

  • Income Support
  • Income Related Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income Related Employment Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit/Child Tax Credit.

New benefit claimants

The initial roll out of Universal Credit in 2015/16 is limited to certain people who would have made a new claim for Job Seekers Allowance. The criteria for claiming Universal Credit is extended regularly and you should check the Department for Work and Pensions Universal Credit service.

How to claim

Claims for Universal Credit should be made online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

If you haven't got your own pc, then try to use a computer belonging to a friend or member of your family.

If this isn't possible, you can use a computer free of charge at our Customer Service Centre.

Before making a claim, you need to gather the following information and have it ready:

  • your postcode
  • your National Insurance number
  • details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
  • your rent agreement (if you have one)
  • details of your savings or other capital
  • details of any income that's not from work (e.g. from an insurance plan)
  • details of any other benefits you're getting
  • You might also need these details for people who live in your home, e.g. your partner.

Existing benefit claimants

If you're already claiming any benefits you don't need to do anything. You'll be told when Universal Credit will affect you.

Universal Credit includes housing costs

Any help you get with your rent will be included in your Universal Credit payment and you will be responsible for paying your landlord. In some circumstances payments can be made direct to the landlord, for example, when there are rent arrears or threat of eviction or you find it difficult to manage payments.

Further information for landlords and tenants to help them prepare for the move to direct payments and what protections and safeguards are in place is available on the DWP website.

Payments

Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears to one person in the household.  If you can't manage monthly payments of Universal Credit or you're having trouble budgeting, you may be able to have an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA). This can mean paying your Universal Credit more often than monthly, splitting it between you and your partner, or paying Universal Credit for your rent direct to your landlord.

View full details on payment options on Gov.uk

Council tax support claimants

Help with council tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. The DWP will not accept a claim for council tax support at the same time as you claim Universal Credit.

You must apply for council tax support directly through our benefits service once you have applied for Universal Credit. If you don't apply for your council tax support at this time, you may not receive your maximum entitlement.

Where can I get help and advice?

Job Centre

  • Your local job centre will be able to advise you on Universal Credit, payments and budgeting support. If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.
  • If you need financial help before your UC payment is due and meet certain conditions, you can ask for an advanced payment. Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

  • The DWP aim to deliver support and information to help those affected to understand the changes and prepare for the move to Universal Credit.
  • For further information, you can contact the DWP on the Universal Credit helpline: 0345 600 0723 or visit the Universal Credit webpages for more information.
  • Further information for landlords and tenants to help them prepare for the move to direct payments and what protections and safeguards are in place.

Money Advice

  • Information to help you understand more about Universal Credit and financial budgeting is also available on the Money Advice Service website.
  • If you are currently claiming benefits and you want to know how Universal Credit might affect you in the future, you can use the Universal Credit Personal Planner to get a personal statement to find out what changes you may need to make to get ready for Universal Credit.