Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit being rolled out by the Government across the country. Here is everything you need to know.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment which is gradually replacing six income-related benefits and tax credits for new claimants.

Universal Credit will eventually replace the following benefits:

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

Will Universal Credit affect me?

Universal Credit will not affect everybody straight away. For the time being, most claims for Universal Credit are from single people making new claims of income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, who do not have responsibilities for children.

There are other conditions, so please call us for advice.

If you live in an area offering the ‘full’ Universal Credit, you will not be able to make a new claim for one of the benefits being replaced. If you receive any already, your entitlement to them will end when you claim Universal Credit.

The ‘full’ Universal Credit service is being rolled out across the North East now and is due to be completed in September 2018. More and more of us will be able to claim Universal Credit, and will not be able to claim one of the six benefits it replaces.

By the end of September 2018 Universal Credit will replace the big six income related benefits across the whole of our region.

What’s different about Universal Credit?

  • You need to be online – You make your claim and check your payments and updates online

  • You need a to set up an account to receive your money – This can be a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as your local Credit Union or Post Office

  • You get a single monthly payment – You’ll need to manage your bills and costs for the whole month

  • You need to pay your rent or charges to Karbon Homes directly – Your payment will include any help you get towards rent and charges. You need to arrange payments to us directly. We suggest setting up a Direct Debit payment to us for the day your Universal Credit payment arrives in your account. That way you don’t need to remember to pay or worry about how much you have left for other things. Contact us for advice about setting up a Direct Debit payment.

 

Your Universal Credit payment may not be enough to cover your rent and charges. You will still need to pay the full amount due to us.

Frequently asked questions

What will happen to my Housing Benefit?

If you claim Universal Credit, Housing Benefit will no longer be paid directly to Karbon Homes on your behalf. It will be your responsibility to pay your FULL rent to Karbon Homes.

When you claim Universal Credit, you will no longer receive Housing Benefit. Instead, your Universal Credit payment will include a ‘housing costs element’ which you will need to pay to us, together with any other charges and any arrears you may owe.

We recommend setting up a Direct Debit with Karbon Homes to ensure you don’t miss a payment and fall into rent arrears. Contact us for advice about setting up a Direct Debit payment.

How do I claim Universal Credit?

You have to make your claim online via the GOV.UK website. If you do not have access to a computer you can do this at the Job Centre. For help finding an internet access point, click here.

You must have the following information to make your claim:

  • Full name and address including your postcode
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Details of bank, building society or Post Office Account
  • Proof of your weekly rent
  • Details of savings or capital
  • Details of any other income you may receive

It will take up to an hour to make your claim and you must have all of the above information ready to complete it.

Make sure you contact us before you make a claim. We can tell you what information you need as well as give you advice on managing the transition.

When will I be paid Universal Credit?

You will receive Universal Credit monthly, but won’t receive your first payment until one month and seven days after your claim is made.

So, when you apply for Universal Credit you will have to wait;

  • Seven days before your claim starts (unless you were on one of the six benefits UC replaces within a month of making your UC claim)
  • A calendar month before your claim is assessed
  • AND up to seven more days before your first payment is made.


Remember: you are still liable for rent if you have to wait seven days for your claim to start.

Some people will have an additional seven ‘waiting days’ between making their application and the claim starting. The general rule is that you will be responsible for paying your month’s rent from this income.

Is council tax benefit part of Universal Credit?

Council Tax Benefit (or Council Tax Reduction), is not paid as part of Universal Credit. You will need to make a separate claim for help towards your council tax. Click here to apply for Council Tax Reduction.

Remember: Universal Credit only replaces six income related benefits. It does not replace contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance, or contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and if you have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions you can claim these alongside Universal Credit. Please call us for advice.  

We can help

If you think you will struggle managing and budgeting your money, have physical or mental health problems that might prevent you paying your rent on time, or if you need help dealing with debt please contact one of our Benefits and Money Advisors on 0300 300 1505.

If you want to talk to us about what you’re entitled to, whether you’re going to be better off on Universal Credit, or any concerns you have, please call us for specialist advice.

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