What is Universal Credit, what will it mean for you and what do you need to do?
Universal Credit has started to replace a range of benefits and tax credits for people of working age.
It is a single, monthly payment of benefits that includes help towards your rent. It will be paid into your chosen bank or Post Office account every month in arrears.
If you receive any of the following benefits, you will eventually be affected by this change:
Universal Credit will not affect you if you or your partner receive Pension Credit.
In most cases, any financial support you get to help you to pay your rent (e.g. Housing Benefit) will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment.
It is your responsibility to pay your rent to Wulvern. Please notify us when you are moved onto Universal credit. If you fail to pay your rent, you will fall into rent arrears and could end up losing your home.
We offer a number of easy ways to set up payments or pay your rent. Click here to choose the method that suits you!
You will be expected to apply for and manage your Universal Credit online. If you don’t currently have access to the internet please contact Wulvern - we can help.
You will be responsible for telling the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes to your circumstances which may affect your benefits, this will include changes to your rent, if you fail to do this you could lose out.
To claim Universal Credit, you and your partner if you have one, will need to agree and sign a ‘Claimant Commitment’.
This will outline the tasks that you (and your partner) need to complete in order to be paid, and continue to receive, your full Universal Credit payment.
The tasks you need to complete will vary dependent upon your health and family circumstances.
Examples of tasks you may need to complete are:
If you fail to complete these tasks, your Universal Credit payments will be reduced or stopped.
You need a bank account to receive Universal Credit. If you do not have a bank account, it is a good idea to get one set up and get used to using it. The Money Advice Service offers free and independent advice to help you to choose the right account for your circumstances. Click here for more details.
If you are married or living with your partner, you will get a single Universal Credit payment. You can have the money paid into a single account in either name or a joint account in both names. It might be useful to think about who is good at budgeting.
Universal Credit was introduced in Cheshire East this year, starting with jobseekers making a new claim.
If you receive any of the benefits that will be replaced by Universal Credit, you will eventually be moved onto Universal Credit but until you are told you need to claim Universal Credit, you will receive your benefits as normal.
The Government aims to have Universal Credit implemented across the whole of the UK by 2017.
Click here to complete the Department of Work and Pension’s Universal Credit Personal Planner. It takes less than five minutes and will let you know if there are any important changes you need to make to ensure you and your family are ready for Universal Credit.
In most cases, Universal Credit will be paid to you monthly in arrears. Drawing up a budget of all your household income and outgoings is important if you want to make sure you can pay all your bills, including your rent, and manage until the end of the month.
If you have debts, StepChange Debt Charity offers completely free and impartial debt advice, focussed on what is best for you. They will discuss your situation, explore your options and recommend the best course of action.
Call them on 0800 138 1111 Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday 9am - 4pm or visit them online at www.stepchange.org. For more help and advice contact Wulvern's MoneyWise team on 01270 503575 or email@example.com
If you receive Pension Credit, you will not be moved onto Universal Credit.
If you or your partner are Pension Credit age, find out if you might qualify for Pension Credit. Contact the MoneyWise Team or contact the Pension Service on 0800 99 1234.
Our MoneyWise Team can help - if you would like to speak to the team please call 01270 503575 or use the form below.