What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit rolled out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), through your local Jobcentre Plus. Universal Credit is claimed online and is a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income and will replace the following six existing benefits.
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related Employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credit
- Child tax credit
- Housing benefit.
When will it affect me?
Universal Credit Full Service was introduced into East Staffordshire in November 2018 and will affect certain new claims to benefit.
If you are already claiming and receiving benefits, such as Housing Benefit, you don’t need to do anything – your benefits will continue as usual for now.
This will only change if you have a change in your circumstances, which means you need to make a new claim for one of the above six benefits. If this happens then your housing benefit will stop and your housing costs will be paid together with your universal credit. You will be entitled to an additional two weeks housing benefit when you migrate to Universal Credit
Who will it affect?
People at state pension age
If you are a pensioner you are not affected by Universal Credit.
For help with your rent and / or Council Tax, you should claim Housing Benefit and / or Council Tax Support.
If you are unsure whether you are at pension age or not, you can use the Government's pension age calculator.
People at working age
If you need help with your rent and neither you or any partner is not of pension age then you will need to claim Universal Credit unless you fall into any of the following groups:
- You qualify for a severe disability premium
- You are living in Specified Accommodation (and you need care, support or supervision), or
- You have been placed in temporary accommodation by the Council, or
- You pay ground rent or live in a tent
If you are in one of these groups you need to make one joint claim with the Council for help with your rent and your Council Tax.
If you are not in one of the above groups then you will need to make 2 separate claims, one for help with your Council Tax and one for help with your rent
For help with your Council Tax you must claim Council Tax Reduction
For help with you rent you need to apply online to claim Universal Credit from the Department of Works and Pensions.
How can I get more information about Universal Credit?
You can find out more information about Universal Credit by:
- visiting the Government Universal Credit website
- viewing the guidance about "Universal Credit and You"
- filling in the questionnaire to find out if you are ready for Universal Credit and what you should do to prepare
- for partner organisations use the toolkit
The YouTube video below explains how to claim for Universal Credit online.
Universal Credit Advance Payments
You may not receive your first Universal Credit Payment for 6 weeks. If you don’t have enough to live on whilst you wait for this payment you may be able to get an advance payment.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments are intended to provide short term financial assistance to help with housing costs. This can be paid in addition to your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (housing element included).
Help with managing your money
ESBC can help you if you need help/advice on personal budgeting support. This may include help with the following;
- Setting up a bank account
- Setting up a personal email address, if you do not already have one
- Help with preparing a financial statement, to help you understand your income/expenditure and how to deal with priority and non priority debts
- Signposting to relevant organisations if you need specialist help with debt
If you require help/support with budgeting please contact us on 01283 508000 or visit our Customer Services Centre at either the Market Place, Burton Upon Trent, or Uttoxeter Library.
You can also assess your own income and expenditure using the following websites: