What is Universal credit ? (UC)
This is a new benefit for people of working age on a low income and is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). 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.
Help with housing costs
Any help you get with your rent will be included in your UC 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.
Existing benefit claimants
If you’re already claiming any benefits you don’t need to do anything. You’ll be told when UC will affect you. However if your situation changes and this results in your benefits changing you may need to claim Universal credit if it has started in your area. If you are thinking about claiming Universal credit instead of Housing benefit please check the entitled to website as occasionally you will be worse off claiming Universal credit and as soon as you claim Housing Benefit stops and cannot restart.
New benefit claimants
You must claim Universal credit if you live in the Wealden area unless one of the following applies:
- Customer over Pension Credit age
- Customer living in supported accommodation
- Customer who is or has been in the last month, receiving any benefit that includes a Severe Disability Premium
How to claim
Claim online via the Universal Credit Portal.
You can view the claim process prior to claiming on Universal credit a guide to claiming
You will not be able to save the online application and go back to it. You must allow time for the form to be completed. It may take between 20 and 40 minutes.
You will need the following information to claim online:
- Your National Insurance number
- Details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit will be paid
- Your rent agreement (if you have one)
- Details of any savings and other capital
- Details of any non-work income for example income from an insurance plan
- Details of any other benefits you already get
- You might also need these details for people who live in your home, eg your partner.
Do not delay in making your claim as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) cannot backdate your claim except in exceptional circumstances.
If you need help with claiming you can phone the Citizens Advice Bureau on 0300 3309022
Proving your Identity – GOV.UK Verify
GOV.UK Verify is a secure way to prove who you are online. It makes it safe, quick and easy to access government services like filing your tax or checking the information on your driving licence.
When you use GOV.UK Verify, you don’t need to prove your identity in person or wait for something to arrive in the post.
All customers should automatically be offered this Verify Service when applying for Universal Credit
Universal Credit will be paid monthly to one person in the household. If you live with your partner and both claim UC you’ll receive a single payment that covers you both.
Any help you get with your rent will be included with your Universal Credit payment and you’ll then pay your landlord yourself.
Help with Council Tax
Help with Council Tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. The Department for Work and Pensions will no longer accept a claim for Council Tax Reduction at the same time as you claim UC.
You must apply for Council Tax Support through the council’s Benefits Service, and provide any evidence needed to support your claim.
If you don’t send your Council Tax Reduction claim to us when you apply for Universal Credit you may lose benefit entitlement as we may not be able to backdate it.
Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) will still be administered by Wealden District Council even if you no longer claim Housing Benefit. You will need to have your housing costs met through Universal Credit. DHP can only be paid to meet the shortfall of Universal Credit Housing costs towards your rent. If once your Universal credit has been worked out the Housing payment does not meet your rent you can claim a Discretionary Housing Payments online.
Need help and support with your claim?
You can find a jobcentre and they will be able to advise you on Universal Credit and 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 from Job Centre Plus (not the Council). Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance. Our leaflet on where to go for help whilst waiting for first payment may also help.
Your local Citizen Advice can provide help with budgeting.
There are several other agencies that may be able to help depending on your circumstances and the help you need. We have listed these on our Benefit Contacts.
Once your payments have started the Universal Credit and You will help with any questions you may have.