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Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment for people of working age in or out of work.  UC merges income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Housing Benefit.  The aim is to incentivise work and ensure claimants are always better off in work.

What is different about UC?

The Government's aim is that by 2022, Housing Benefit for working age private and social tenants will no longer be dealt with by your Council but will be part of UC that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be dealing with.

 UC will be a single monthly payment into a bank account.  If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment.  You will have to pay rent to your landlord yourself, in full and on time.

Who will it affect following changes to Universal Credit in the 2017 autumn budget?

This affects new working age benefit claimants or if you have a change of circumstance living in one of the following postcode areas:-

SO40 0, SO40 2, SO40 3, SO40 8, SO43 7, SP5 2, SP5 5, BH1 3, BH2 5, BH23 5 BH23 7.

From the 6 June 2018 SO40 4, SO40 7, SO40 9, SO45 1, SO45 2, SO45 3, SO45 4, SO45 5, SO45 6, SO45 9 will be full service postcode areas.

Remaining postcodes will be rolled out on 26 September 2018.

For most new claims to any of the above benefits, you will claim UC.  To contact UC phone 0800 328 5644.

Housing Benefit can still be claimed if you meet any of the following conditions:

  • If you are a resident in supported exempt accommodation you must inform Universal Credit and make a claim for Housing Benefit with New Forest District Council
  • If you are in temporary accommodation such as Bed & Breakfast from 11 April 2018
  • You have three or more children and have been advised to claim Tax Credits after 22 February 2017
  • You have reached State Pension Credit age or are part of a couple where one of you has reached State  Pension Credit age

For further advice please contact the Housing Benefits team on 01590 646121. 

If you have had a change of circumstance so that you need to re-apply for benefits/tax credits you may now need to apply for Universal Credit.  For example claiming Child Tax Credits for the first time or you  move from in work to out of work etc.  You  will no longer be able to claim Housing Benefit and any existing claim will be cancelled from the date you claim Universal Credit.

If a claimant is already claiming UC and moves into our area, you may continue to receive UC. 

Existing benefit claimants and Universal Credit

Existing claimants will continue to claim Housing Benefit up to 2019, the Department of Work and Pensions will then begin to move claimants over to Universal Credit. 

How to claim

You will be expected to make your UC claim on-line  To make your claim you will need details of your (and any partners):

  • Post code
  • National Insurance Number
  • E-mail address and contact number
  • Bank or building society account details
  • Earnings if working
  • Benefits you get
  • Savings and capital
  • Tenancy agreement (if you have one)
  • Children that live with you
  • Income of adult children that live with you

If you can use a computer, but do not have access to one you can use computers at your local Jobcentre, library or some council offices.  Please give time to complete your application, it may take 40 minutes or more. 

You can call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you need help making your claim.  When making your claim, make sure you check all the information, especially if you pay rent.  For more information see Understanding Universal Credit

How will UC affect you?

  • It may take five weeks from claiming to getting your first payment.  If this will cause you hardship you can ask for an Advance Payment.  This will be deducted from your UC payments.
  • If you are getting Housing Benefit, this will stop as the housing element is paid with your UC.  You must notify our office if you make a claim for UC.  This will help avoid any overpayments.
  • REMEMBER - Make sure you tick "Yes" to paying rent and fill in the correct rent details, otherwise you will not get all the UC you are entitled too!
  • If you are a council tenant, and pay rent to New Forest District Council, we may be able to provide evidence of your rent directly to Universal Credit please contact us on 02380 285000 option 2

How can you get ready for UC?

  • Make sure you have a bank account
  • Make sure you have an email account
  • As UC is paid monthly, review your expenditure and work out your monthly budget.  Make sure you have enough to pay your rent and council tax

For more information see Universal Credit and You

In receipt of Universal Credit and struggling to pay your rent?

If you are in receipt of Universal Credit (Housing Costs) and you are struggling to pay any shortfall in your rent, you can apply to New Forest District Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment DHP

People of pensionable age

If you are of pensionable age you will continue to apply for, and receive, Housing Benefit until 2022.

Help with Council Tax

You may be able to get help with paying your council tax.  You will need to complete an application form for Council Tax Reduction from the council.  Please call us on 01590 646121 to make your claim.  You must inform our office of any changes to your circumstances and you will need to provide us with your Universal Credit award letter when you first receive it and provide the letter every time the award changes.

 

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Updated: 5 Jun 2018
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