Universal Credit is a new benefit, to support you if you’re working and on a low income or you’re out of work. It won’t affect you if you are in receipt of pension age benefits.
It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits that you may be getting now such as:
- Housing benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Income support
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the UK. Full Digital Service is being rolled out across all Norfolk Jobcentres by the end of 2018.
- Cromer Jobcentre – October 2018
- Norwich Jobcentre - October 2018
- Kings Lynn Jobcentre – November 2018
- Fakenham Jobcentre – December 2018
- North Walsham Jobcentre – December 2018
If you’re in an area which offers a Full Digital Service and are entitled to the benefits being replaced, you will be asked to claim Universal Credit.
Claimants will be moved on to Universal Credit if they need to make a new claim for any of the above benefits. Claims need to be made online and your claim will be managed through an online account. Payments will be made calendar monthly in arrears.
It usually takes around 5 weeks to get your first payment. If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance. The wait before your first payment is made up of a one month assessment period and up to 7 days for the payment to reach your account.
The housing element will paid directly to the claimant who will be responsible for making rent payments to your landlord. You need to make sure you then forward this payment to your landlord.
Here are some ways to make sure you pay your rent on time:
- Make sure your rent date is just after you get paid. When you know the date your Universal Credit payment will be paid every month, ask your landlord if you can move the date you pay your rent to just after you get your Universal Credit payment – or wages if you’re working.
- Set up a Direct Debit or standing order. You can ask your bank to do this but wait until you’ve got your first payment. Your rent money will go to your landlord automatically on the same day each month and you won’t have to remember to do it.
- Put your rent in a separate account. Then set up a standing order so your rent goes straight into this account and sits there until rent day.
- Open a jam jar or rent account. Jam jar accounts let you put your money into separate pots to keep it separate. You can have pots for rent, food and bills, making it easier to manage your payments.
- Get a prepaid card. Put your spending money onto your card and leave money for your rent and other bills in your bank account.
You will need to make a separate claim to your Local Authority for Council Tax Support.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children
DLA for children (under 16) may help with extra costs of looking after a child who, has difficulties walking or needs much more looking after than a child of the same age who does not have a disability.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
If you’re aged 16 to 64 you may be able to get help with some of the extra costs caused by long term ill-health or disability.
If you’re aged 65 or over, you may be able to get help with extra costs if you have a disability severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.
In 2015 the UK Government announced that the Benefit Cap will be reduced to a maximum of £20,000 per annum outside London, this equates to £385 per week. The Benefit Cap applies to people aged between 16 to 64 and if you are affected your Housing Benefit will be reduced to make sure that the total amount of benefit you receive isn't more than the cap level. You are not affected by the Benefit Cap if you qualify for any of the following:
- Working Tax Credit
- Disability Living Allowance
- Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Carer’s Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (if you get the support component)
- Guardian’s Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Benefits (and equivalent payments as part of a War Disablement Pension or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- War pensions
- War Widow’s or War Widower’s Pension