Universal Credit FAQ

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What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit to support you if you are working and on a low income or you are out of work. It replaces six existing benefits.

  1. Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  2. Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
  3. Income Support
  4. Working Tax Credits
  5. Child Tax Credits
  6. Housing Benefit


What is different about Universal Credit?

  1. It’ll be paid into your chosen bank account
  2. You’ll get one monthly payment for your whole household
  3. Your rent will be included in the single monthly payment
  4. You’ll  have to pay us your rent directly
  5. It’s claimed  online


When is it changing?

The full on-line service of Universal Credit will be coming to the following areas on:

Universal Credit

Maidstone

November 2018

Medway

Already live

Swale

Already live

Tonbridge and Malling

November 2018

Tunbridge Wells

November 2018

Dartford

July 2018

Ashford

June 2018

Canterbury 

July 2018

 

How do I make a claim for Universal Credit?

If you are already in receipt of one of the six previously mentioned benefits you won’t have to make a claim for Universal Credit until you are asked to do so by the Department of Work and Pensions ( DWP). https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

To start with, only people having a change of circumstances will move on to Universal credit. So if you start a new job, move to another local authority or change from Income Support to Job Seekers Allowance then you will have to make the change.

Don’t delay making your claim for Universal Credit. Apply as soon as you are asked to do so as it can take up to five weeks for your payment to reach your bank account. If you have not previously claimed benefits but need to do so now you would have to make a new claim for benefit.


Will the amount of money people get change?

The amount of money you receive will depend on your circumstances. The monthly payment will take into consideration any other income you get from work during the payment period.

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

To get an idea of how much you might receive, try this calculator www.entitledto.co.uk


Will Housing Benefit still pay my rent directly?

No. With Universal Credit, any payment made towards your rent will be made directly into your chosen bank account. You will then be responsible for using that money to pay us your full rent and any debt you owe.


Will it change how I pay my rent?

Yes, you’ll be responsible for paying your own rent out of the money you receive from Universal Credit.

Check out Money Manager on the Money Advice Service website which is designed for people on Universal Credit. You can use it whether you’re making a new claim or moving to Universal Credit from existing benefits. It will help you make the most of your money - www.moneysdviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-manager
 

Will I get help with my council tax?

You’ll need to apply separately to your local council for help paying your council tax. You must claim this straight away when you are claiming Universal Credit. If you don’t then your claim won’t be backdated.
 

How long will I have to wait until my first payment comes through?

It will usually take around five weeks for your first payment to reach your account.


What would I live on in the meantime?

You can apply for an advance payment by contacting the Universal Credit helpline, but you will have to repay the advance from your future Universal Credit payments, so only ask for what you need.
 

I haven’t used a computer, where do I get help?

Your claim to Universal Credit will not start until you have submitted your online form.

If you don’t have access to a computer at home, you might be able to use one for free at your local Jobcentre, library, Citizens Advice or council.

If you are new to computers or haven’t felt confident about using them in the past, now is a good time to learn or get up to speed.

Our Community Development Team will be able to give you support and run a number of courses locally. You can email the team at enquiries@goldinghomes.org.uk

 

How can I open a bank account?

Universal Credit will be paid into an account every month. If you don’t currently have a bank account you need to open one.

There’s some useful advice on opening a bank account on the Money Advice Services website at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/choosing-a-bank-account-for-your-universal-credit-payment

 You can also contact us for advice on 0300 777 2600.
 

Where can I get more information about Universal Credit?

Visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information.

There is also a useful video clip to help you when claiming for Universal Credit  -

 

How can Golding Homes help me with Universal Credit?

Our Neighbourhoods team are on hand to help you get ready for Universal Credit. They can help you with your application or refer you to our Tenancy Support Advisor for advice and support on opening a bank account or managing your money. You can contact us on 0300 777 2600 or email enquiries@goldinghomes.org.uk
 

How do I know if I'm ready for Universal Credit?

There’s a simple questionnaire which you can complete online at www.gov.uk which will let you know what you might need to do to prepare for Universal Credit.

It will only take a few minutes to complete, but will help reduce any worries you may have.

If you need help with the questionnaire, then contact us and we will take you through it.

Universal Credit doesn’t have to be scary!  Speak to us now if you need help or have any concerns.