What is Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a new simpler, single monthly payment for people in and out of work, which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now. Universal Credit will replace:
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance.
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance.
- Income Support.
- Child Tax Credits.
- Working Tax Credit.
- Housing Benefit.
The amount you will receive will depend on your level of income and other family circumstances. If you are claiming any of the benefits that are being replaced, your claim will continue unless you have a change of circumstances that trigger a claim for Universal Credit.
Eventually you will be moved onto Universal Credit, even if you have no change of circumstances. The move to Universal Credit has been planned to happen between July 19 and March 2022.
How Universal Credit is different
Universal Credit will be a single monthly payment from DWP into a bank account. It will be paid in a different way to current benefits.
- It will be paid monthly into an account you choose.
- If you get help with your rent, this will be included in with your monthly payment - you will then pay your landlord yourself.
- If you or your partner are both eligible, you will get one monthly payment for the household.
How to apply and manage your claim
Universal Credit will generally be made and managed online through the DWP website. You can check on your payments and updates through your online account. Before completing your claim, you must sign up to GOV.UK Verify, this is a new service that will verify your identity online so you can access government services. Visit the online GOV.UK Verify website.
If you do not have access to the internet at home you can access it at your local Library, Job Centre or Gateway.
To apply for Universal Credit online please visit the GOV.UK website - apply for universal credit - you will need the following information before you make a claim. Once you have made a claim Universal Credit will contact you to attend a face to face interview.
- You (and your partners) National Insurance Number.
- Your Postcode.
- Your email address.
- Your phone number.
- Your Landlords address
- How much rent you are paying.
- Your bank account details.
- If working - your expected monthly wage.
- Details of any savings you have.
- Details of any other income your receive.
- An email address for communication purposes.
How Universal Credit is Paid and Opening a Bank Account
Universal Credit will be paid into a bank account, building society or credit union account but not a Post Office card account, so it is important to ensure you have an account.
Opening a current account with a bank can be difficult if you are on a low income or if you have had poor credit history. Below is an alternative to a current account that will allow anyone to open one and do not allow you to go overdrawn that provide easy access to your money and direct debits.
A basic bank account - these accounts have most of the features of current accounts that allow you to pay money in and take it out but do not allow you to go overdrawn. Having a bank account will help you manage your bills. You can set up a monthly direct debit for your rent and your bills so they are always automatically paid on time, which will take the worry out of budgeting. A basic bank account is available to everyone including those with previous or existing debt problems. These accounts are designed to be easy to open and easy to manage. Basic bank accounts are available from most banks and building societies.
For further information about opening a basic bank account, please visit the link provided below:
Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme
The Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme is designed to help people who, because of special circumstances, need financial assistance with their rent. It does not cover payments in respect of Local Council Tax Support.This is an additional payment where Housing Benefit entitlement or Universal Credit does not cover the full value of the rent. Payments are entirely discretionary and are usually for a limited period only to enable you to seek an alternative solution.
For further details and how to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Please click here
Managing your Money
It is important that you know your household budget, your income and spending and prepare for any changes coming your way. If you are in danger of losing your home or getting into debt you should seek specialist advice.
For further information, or advice, please visit the Understanding Universal Credit website provided by DWP or telephone Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644
The Money Advice Service provides help and support and can assist with;
- Step-by-step questions that sign-post users to financial guidance and support relevant to their personal circumstances.
- Hints and tips for managing money and paying bills from a monthly payment.
- Sign-posting to further support, such as Advanced Payments and free debt advice.
Find out more about the Money Advice Service Online Money Manager.
Information for landlords about Universal Credit
A suite of new products has also been developed to help landlords understand what Universal Credit means for them.
To find out further information please click here