What is universal credit?
Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It is being rolled out across the country and was live in Brentwood from the 15th November 2017.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit is calculated as a basic allowance for a single person or a couple plus additional amounts for:
- Each child or young person you are responsible for (with extra amounts if they are disabled)
- Child care costs
- If you have a 'limited capability for work' (This means that you are unable to work due to an illness or a disability)
- If you have regular and substantial caring responsibilities for a severely disabled person
- Housing costs (mortgage interest payments and rent payments if you are unemployed)
Universal Credit is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions, and unlike the benefits it replaces, it is paid monthly in arrears.
Universal Credit has been designed so that it is payable whether you are working or not. If you are on a low income and are moving in and out of work Universal Credit will remain in payment and be adjusted to suit your new financial circumstances. As your income increases your Universal Credit amount decreases until you no longer need it.
You will get the full amount possible if your household has no other income and has less than £6000 savings. There will be no award if your savings are over £16000.
Universal Credit is paid once a month and paid direct into a bank account. Your claim and your account will be accessed and managed online.
What happens if I am already receiving Housing Benefit?
You do not need to do anything if you are already receiving any of the six benefits listed above, and you will be informed when you need to make a claim for Universal Credit.