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Universal Credit

Are you ready for Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit payment, which replaces six working age benefits with a single monthly payment similar to a monthly working wage. The six benefits being replaced are:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Child Tax Credits (CTC)
  • Working Tax Credits (WTC)
  • Housing Benefit (HB)

UC does not include assistance with your Council Tax. People claiming Universal Credit still have to contact Wakefield Council to apply for Council Tax Support.

Who does it affect?

UC was introduced in Wakefield from 18 April 2016 for new single claimants aged 18-60 and six months who are not already claiming any of the existing above benefits. Any new single claimants in this age group will now need to claim UC.

People of pension age will not currently be affected. If you are unsure of when you will reach state pension age, the GOV.UK website provides a useful state pension calculator. You may still be affected however if you are not currently receiving Pension Credit and your partner is under Pension Credit age.

Now that UC has been introduced for new claims for all single people in Wakefield, couples and families will then be included as the roll out extends from August 2018 onwards.

UC is paid directly to one member of the household into a bank, building society or credit union account.

Existing benefit claims will begin to be moved over to UC from around 2019.

Claiming Universal Credit

You need to be able to use a computer and the internet to claim UC as the application form is completed online. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will also introduce a full digital service in phases from April 2016 onwards, allowing individuals to manage their UC claim and search for work entirely online. Wakefield will go live with the full digital service from August 2018. If you need support to get online, visit us at one of our service access points, the WDH Hub or ask to speak to a WDH Digital Angel on 0345 8 507 507.

When you make a Universal Credit claim you will be asked to input personal details including your National Insurance Number. As part of this process you will need to obtain information about your tenancy from WDH. For further information, call our OneCALL team on 0345 8 507 507.

After making your initial claim, it will take at least six weeks for you to receive your first Universal Credit payment. It is important to claim UC as soon as you are able. The quicker you claim, the quicker you will receive your first payment.

Adjusting to payments in arrears

If you think you might struggle to adjust to receiving your benefit payment on a monthly basis, in arrears, you can find out how prepared you are for UC on gov.uk.

Your responsibilities

If you are entitled to the housing costs element of UC, this will be included in your single UC monthly payment. This is the main difference for tenants in claiming UC instead of Housing Benefit. If you are the named WDH tenant, it is your responsibility to ensure that rent is paid to WDH in full.

Joint tenancies

If you have previously signed a joint WDH tenancy agreement but the other tenant now no longer lives with you, under UC you may only receive up to half of your housing costs element. For advice on your tenancy call our OneCALL team on 0345 8 507 507.

Keeping in touch

If you intend to claim UC it is important that you inform us in advance. It is also important to inform the DWP and WDH on 0345 8 507 507 of any change in your circumstances as soon as you can, as your UC entitlement may be affected. If you keep us informed we will be more able to support you through any changes you have.

Support with your finances

For help and advice in relation to UC and your finances generally, personal budgeting and managing your money get Cash Wise. Our team of friendly advisors can provide information on benefits, budgeting and help getting back into employment.

Further information

Additional information to help you prepare for UC can be found on the GOV.UK website.