What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new benefit for people living on a low income, or who are out of work. It replaces six other benefits with a simpler, single monthly payment.
Universal Credit replaces:
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Job Seekers Allowance (Income based)
- Employment & Support Allowance (Income related)
It will make it easier to start a new job or work more hours, so you will be better off in a job than you will be on benefits.
It includes help with the costs of housing, children, childcare as well as other living expenses. It will also provide financial support to disabled people, carers and people who are too sick to work.
It will not affect you if you are of pension age.
Who is responsible for Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a benefit paid by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and is not administered by Brentwood Borough Council.
Who can claim Universal Credit in Brentwood?
You can claim Universal Credit if you are a single person, without dependant children and you are making a new claim and you would previously have claimed Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance and in certain cases Income Support. You can also claim Universal Credit if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit. You can check whether you can get Universal Credit by going to www.gov.uk/universalcredit or alternatively you can speak to someone at the Job Centre.
How do you claim Universal Credit?
You are expected to make your claim for Universal credit online at www.gov.uk/universalcredit.
If you don’t have a computer at home you can use the computers at the Job Centre, at the Town Hall in Ingrave Road or at your local library. If you need more help you can get face to face or telephone advice from staff at the Job Centre.
You will also be invited to an interview with a work coach at the Job Centre to sign a Claimant Commitment. This sets out the responsibilities you have accepted in return for claiming Universal Credit.
What you need to know before making a claim for Universal Credit.
To apply for Universal Credit you will need the following information:
- Your national insurance number
- Details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit will be paid
- Your rent/tenancy agreement (if you have one)
- Details of any savings and other capital
- Details of any non-work income such as an insurance plan
- Details of any other benefits you receive
You should also know that claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in very exceptional circumstances so make your claim immediately. The start date of your claim will be the day you make your claim.
Once you have started you must complete your application in one go as you cannot save and return to the form later. Please make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete the form which takes approximately 40 minutes.
Will you still receive Housing Benefit?
Yes, although this will cease once you claim Universal Credit as you cannot receive Housing Benefit at the same time. Your rent will form part of the Universal Credit payment. Please remember to inform Brentwood Borough Council if you have claimed Universal Credit as you Housing Benefit claim will end. There are some exceptions, for example if you live in supported accommodation you will still receive Housing Benefit, but in most cases you will not.
Will your Local Council Tax Support be included in Universal Credit?
No. You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within Universal Credit. You must make a separate claim. Local Council Tax Support will still be administered by Brentwood Borough Council.
How will Universal Credit be paid?
Universal Credit is paid differently from your current benefits. It is paid each month into the bank, building society or Post Office account you have named in your application. If you do not have a bank account you will need to open one before you can be paid Universal Credit.
Any help you receive towards your rent will be included in your Universal Credit and you will have to pay your landlord yourself.
You can go to the Money Advice Service website to get help with budgeting and planning for Universal Credit.