Universal Credit a new benefit introduced by the government

Universal Credit is a new benefit introduced by the government. Universal Credit has already been rolled out in North East Lincolnshire and is due to be rolled out from 12 September 2018 in Boston.

So, what is it?

Universal Credit brings many working age benefits into one single monthly payment for people in or out of work.

It replaces some benefits and tax credits including:

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

If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment – you will then need to pay us directly.

If you live with someone as a couple and you are both entitled to Universal Credit, you will get one joint monthly payment paid into one bank account.

Universal Credit is mainly managed online. Claims are made online and you can check your payments and updates through your online account.

How much is it?

Universal Credit is a standard allowance for your household plus any elements for your family circumstances if applicable, including:

  • housing
  • childcare costs
  • responsibility for children or young people
  • disabled children
  • an ill or disabled adult
  • being a carer.

If you or someone in your household has other earnings and/or savings this will be taken into account when your Universal Credit payment is calculated. Find out how much you will be entitled to.

It can take up to six weeks after you have made your claim to get your first payment.

What if I am working?

You can work as many hours as you like, there are no limits. If you’re in work you may be entitled to a work allowance.

Claim

Make your claim online.  If you’re making a joint claim for you and your partner, you will need to enter details for both of you.

  • When the application states: ‘Do you pay rent to live in your home?’
  • Answer ‘yes’ even if your rent is paid by Housing Benefit
  • Confirm your landlord details: Lincolnshire Housing Partnership

Once you have made your claim, you'll have to go to the Job Centre for an interview, agree and sign your Claimant Commitment provide identity documentation and discuss whether you'll need help with budgeting.

Tell us…

As soon as you are in receipt of Universal Credit, you must tell us.

Pay your rent

If you receive Housing Benefit for your rent, this will stop and the money will be paid directly to you as part of your Universal Credit payment. You need to pay your rent to LHP yourself. This should be your top priority.

Setting up a Direct Debit is the quickest and easiest way to pay your rent in full, every month. It also stops you forgetting.

Get ready

To help you get ready, there are a few things you can do before it is time to make a claim…

Get your rent account into credit

It can take up to six weeks for your Universal Credit application to be processed so make an extra payment to LHP now.

If you are going to find it difficult to manage until you receive your first payment, ask for an Advance Payment when you make a claim.

Get online

If you’re not already, find out how you can get online or access online services. There are lots of local organisations who can offer help and advice. Plus places that hold free online sessions.

Set up a bank account

Universal Credit is paid directly into a bank account. Some banks offer ‘basic’ bank accounts – accounts where you are not allowed to go overdrawn or into debt.

Manage your money

Plan how you will budget your payment. We know it’s a huge temptation receiving a large sum of money in one go but you must make sure that you pay your priority rent first then other bills. Contact us for support and advice.

If you feel you may struggle managing your monthly payments, ask about Alternative Payment Arrangements.

Our support and advice section provides lots of useful hints and tips or use Money Manager from The Money Advice Service.

Don’t bury your head in the sand

If you are concerned about how Universal Credit will affect you please speak to us as soon as possible.

Find out more…

You’ll find more information about Universal Credit here.

 

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