Universal Credit

The Government have produced a welcome website for those claiming Universal Credit. You can access it by clicking here

What is Universal Credit?

How to apply for Universal Credit

Job Centre Interview

Additional 'waiting days'

Changes in circumstances

What can you do to get ready?

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a new benefit that is affecting working age tenants. It is a single system for claiming benefits for people either out of work or in work and on low wages. Unlike the old system of signing off one benefit and on to another, including housing benefit, tenants will stay on Universal Credit and the payment is changed, taking any earned income into account.

One payment

Any money that you would have previously claimed through housing benefit will be paid directly to you as part of your Universal Credit payment, and you will then have to make arrangements to pay your rent to your landlord.

In Shropshire, only single people with no dependent children and no sickness or disability, would be considered for Universal Credit. However, in time, all new claims will go on to Universal Credit. Eventually all existing claims will be transferred.  

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Tax Credits (both working and child tax credits)

Please note that if you think you will still get help with council tax, that you will need to make a claim to the local authority separately. Council Tax Benefit will not be assessed as part of your Universal Credit Claim. 

How to apply for Universal Credit

You can only apply online for Universal Credit. If you do not have access at home, please click here to see information on where you can get free access to computers and help with making a claim.

It should take around 30-40 minutes to complete the claim, but if you leave the application for a period of 20 minutes, the session will 'time out' and close. There is no ability to save your claim and return later. If the session closes, you will have to start again. 

To make the claim run smoothly please ensure you have the following information before you start:

  • Post code
  • National Insurance Number
  • Details of the bank, building society or post office account where you will want the Universal Credit paid into
  • Rent agreement (if you have one)
  • Current rent statement

if you have recently lost your job, ensure you have all details of any wages that you may receive during the first month of your Universal Credit claim. This may include any final wage, holiday pay or compensation for loss of employment etc. If you receive this money during your calendar month assessment, it will be counted as earnings for the month it was received, rather than the month it was paid for. Please contact the Tenancy Advice Officers for more guidance.

  • Details of any savings or other capital you may have, this includes any redundancy money.
  • Details of any income that is not employment earned, for example money form an insurance plan.
  • Details of any other benefits you are in receipt of

It is important to note that once you make your claim, you will not have a payment of any kind for 6 weeks.

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Job Centre Interview

No later than 3 days after making your claim online, you will receive notification of an interview at your local Job Centre. If this does not arrive after 3 days, you must contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723.

At this interview you will:

  • Agree your claimant commitment
  • Discuss the need for advance payment from your Universal Credit. if you have an advance payment, this will need to be repaid over an agreed time, usually 3-6 months, unless you are moving on to Universal Credit from ESA, then the repayment can be over 12 months.

Discuss Personal Budgeting Support (PBS). This can be about a single household payment, or being paid more frequently than monthly for a short time to get ready for receiving a monthly income, or about having the housing element of your Universal Credit paid directly to your landlord.

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Additional 'waiting days'

if you lose employment and go on to Universal Credit, there is a period of 7 days after you submit the claim known as waiting days. During these 7 days you will have no entitlement to Universal Credit. However, it is still important that you submit your claim, as the waiting days only start after you have submitted the claim. You will still have to pay your rent, council tax and other bills during this time, but you will get no help with these payments. Waiting days do not apply if you are moving from one benefit (such as Job Seekers Allowance) to Universal Credit.

Claim date + waiting days + 1 calendar month +7 days = payment into your bank account

As you can see, you will be waiting 6 weeks or more before you get a payment.

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Changes in circumstances

Report any changes to the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723

Changes include:

  • changes in household members
  • any form of employment no matter how few hours this is
  • sickness and too ill to look for work
  • moving house

What can you do to get ready?

Get ahead with your rent, by at least a week, but a month is preferable, as you may not get a payment of Universal Credit for 6 weeks.

If you lose your job, don't wait. Get a claim in straight away

Speak to the Tenancy Advice Officers at South Shropshire Housing Association and Meres and Mosses Housing Association before making a claim

if you are out of work and seeking employment we have many ways we can help.

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Links

CONTACT

0300 303 1190 and ask to speak to the Tenancy Advice Officers

email the Tenancy Advice Officers

OTHER PAGES

help and advice

LEAFLETS

Universal Credit Leaflet

Claiming Universal Credit

EXTERNAL LINKS

Universal Credit website

Money Advice Service Universal Credit Pages