Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit being introduced to replace a range of benefits and Tax Credits. The aim of Universal Credit is to simplify the system and make work pay.

It is a benefit for anyone on a low to moderate income. It does not matter whether they are in work (or for how many hours), or out of work because they are seeking work, caring, or too ill to work.

It is a means-tested benefit which means that entitlement depends on income, savings and personal circumstances.

It is a working age benefit, which means that single people of Pension Credit age, and couples where both members are Pension Credit age cannot claim it (they claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit instead). Couples where one member is under Pension Credit age will need to claim Universal Credit unless they are already on Pension Credit.

Universal Credit: what is it?

Universal Credit brings together six benefits and Tax Credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment. It is replacing the following:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

All other benefits not included in the above list will continue to be paid as usual, such as Child Benefit, Carers Allowance etc.

For more information please read this factsheet – Universal credit, an introduction

Universal Credit: how to claim

You are expected to claim Universal Credit on-line.

Here is a list of places where you can use a computer free of charge and places where you can learn more about getting on-line, click on www.teignbridge.gov.uk/getonline  you can also use our computer in the reception area of our town centre office.

If you need further help and cannot make your claim on-line, speak to your local Jobcentre who can let you know where help is available.

If you get stuck while you are making your Universal Credit claim a helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. Call 0345 600 0723, call charges may apply.

Before you start your claim you will need to have some information to hand:

  • Personal Information: National Insurance numbers for you and your partner
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Housing information: your address and postcode
  • Your landlord's name and address
  • How much rent you pay and how often i.e. weekly, monthly, four weekly
  • Names of all the tenants on the tenancy agreement
  • Number of bedrooms in the property
  • Details of any services included in the rent and the charge for these, if you are in Social Housing
  • Number and date of any rent free weeks, if you are in Social Housing
  • Financial information: your bank account details
  • Details of any savings you or your partner have
  • Any salary, wage or other income you or your partner has.

To make your claim click on www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

To find out who can claim click on our Universal Credit making a Claim factsheet

Universal Credit: How will I be paid?

The big difference is Universal Credit will be paid once a month into an account nominated by the claimant. This can be a bank account, credit union current account or post office card account.

When someone first claims, their first payment will be made one calendar month and 7 days later, and then calendar monthly after that. If you think you will find it difficult to manage while waiting for the first payment you can ask the DWP for a ‘new claim advance’. This will need to be paid back out of their Universal Credit award. Your rent will still need to be paid and as soon as you claim Universal Credit your housing benefit stops, this is why we are encouraging people to get their rent account in advance.

To find out more about getting ready to budget your Universal Credit payment please read our Universal Credit Budgeting factsheet.

What are Teign Housing doing about it?
We currently have nine claimants on Universal credit who we have worked with during the first few weeks, many of whom are now back into work. The rents team are having conversations over the phone about Universal Credit and we will be sending regular updates out on our twitter and Facebook pages.

From Tuesday 19th April we will be running a weekly drop in every Tuesday afternoon from 2:00 to 4:30 at our office in Newton Abbot town centre. You will be able to drop in and speak to someone to find out more about this new benefit and we can give out advice and information. Please feel free to come along.

Need help managing your money, click on www.teignbridge.gov.uk/article/20886/Money-Advice-Service

More information about Universal Credit can be found on ‘About Universal Credit’- www.about.universalcredit.service.gov.uk/kms/SitePages/home.htm