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Universal Credit – What is it? How it changes Jobseekers allowance & other benefits

Universal Credit – What is it? How it changes Jobseekers allowance & other benefits

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit merges or replaces the following into one single monthly payment for those people who are eligible (people either in or out of work)

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

When will Universal Credit start?

It is already happening (from April 2013) and will continue to be implemented until 2017 (where it will then be standard for everyone)

Why will I be paid monthly instead of fortnightly?

This is designed to make the universal credit feel more like a monthly salary, this will in theory help the transition for those moving from Jobseekers into full-time paid work.

How long until I get paid from the application date?

5 weeks from the claim date until the first Universal Credit payment

The first 7* days are known as waiting days and you won’t be paid for those.

* Those people who are terminally ill or vulnerable, have previously claimed Universal Credit, are splitting up from or moving in with a Universal Credit claimant, or are moving on to it from another benefit will be paid for the 7 days.

Working + Claiming Universal Credit

You can claim Universal Credit even when working, in fact, there is no limit on the hours you can work a week. Instead, the amount you get from Universal Credit will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won’t lose all your benefits at once.

How much can I claim?

Use the Policy in Action website to check or the Governments Calculator.

Changes to housing benefit

Previously housing benefit was paid directly to your landlord (if renting), now this money will be given to you in the ‘single payment’ and it’s your responsibility to pay your landlord.

Couples will now receive a joint payment

The old system paid individuals, now any joint claimants will have to have their payments together into one bank account.

What do I need to do to get ready?

How do I claim?

Visit https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

I need further help

If you need help with your claim, you can contact the Universal Credit Helpline on Tel: 0345 600 0723 between 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday (closed on bank and public holidays).

Calls are free if you have free or inclusive minutes as part of your phone contract. Otherwise ask them to call you back, as the call may cost you up to 40p per minute if you’re calling from a mobile. It’s particularly important to do this if you’re making your claim by phone, as this can take up to 40 minutes.



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