Universal Credit - Are you Ready?
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new, simpler, single monthly payment for people of working age which brings together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now, whether you are in or out of work.
Universal Credit will replace:
- Job seekers Allowance
- Employment Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
When does Universal Credit start and who does it affect?,
Universal Credit full service will go live on the 12th September 2018, for new claims only. If you wish to make a claim in relation to paying your rent or financial support you can no longer make a new claim for Housing Benefit, you will need to make a claim for Universal Credit, you can do this by contacting Boston Borough Council, who can provide assistance or alternatively you can apply online at https://-universal-credit
Up until 12th September 2018, when Boston Borough Council changes from a Live Service area to a Full Service area, you will continue to be directed to claim one of the legacy benefits listed above until the Full Service is rolled out on 12th September 2018.
So what's different about Universal Credit?
Did you know that Universal Credit is a single, monthly payment into a bank account? You will need to have a bank account set up and ready to accept any payments you may receive in the future.
Universal Credit is paid in a different way to current benefits:
- It is paid monthly into an account you choose
- If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment - you will then pay your landlord yourself.
- If both you and your partner are eligible, you will get one monthly payment for the household.
Click on the following link to get more information: How to have your Benefits Paid
Managing your Universal Credit claim online
Universal Credit will be managed online, you will need to make your claim online and report any changes by managing your claim on-line. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can visit Boston Borough Council to make a claim or report changes using a terminal within the building. Support can offered by a member of our team.
Click on the following link to make a claim: Apply for Universal Credit
Working and claiming Universal Credit
There are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you're claiming Universal Credit. Instead, the amount you'll get will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won't lose all your benefits at once.
Changes to Universal Credit Since 1st April 2016
- The work allowance in Universal Credit, the amount you can earn without your benefit being affected, will be reduced from April 2016. For disabled people and people with children it will be reduced to £192 per month if you have housing costs and £397 per month if you don't have housing costs. The work allowance will be abolished altogether from April 2016 for non-disabled, childless claimants meaning your benefit is reduced as soon as you start earning.
- The Childcare Costs element of Universal Credit currently pays for 70% of your registered childcare costs up to a monthly limit of £532 for one child or £912 for two or more children. From 11 April 2016, this will increase so that you will be able to claim back up to 85% of your paid out childcare costs up to a monthly limit of £646 for one child or £1108 for two or more children.
Changes to the Scheme from April 2017 including the budget announcements in November 2017
- Claims made on or after 1st April 17 from those aged between 18 and under 22 years of age will not get housing costs as part of Universal Credit (some exemptions apply)
- Claims where there are 3 or more children after 1st April 2017 will be signposted to claim legacy benefits
- Removal of the 7 waiting days from April 18
- Housing Costs for Temporary Accommodation will be met through Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit from April 2018
- Where there is financial difficulty Advance Payments can be claimed of up to 100% of the first payment and recovery will also be extended to up to 12 months.
- From April 18, those that transition from Housing Benefit to the Housing Element of Universal Credit will be supported with a 2 week run on of Housing Benefit which will be paid automatically.
For more information on Universal Credit and how you can be ready for the changeover you can go to the Department of Work and Pensions website where there are lots of useful fact sheets and videos for you to watch. If you are a Landlord you can also find some useful information on how you may be affected.
Click on the following link to find out more about Universal Credit: Universal Credit
If you require help with Personal Budgeting Support, you can contact Boston Borough Council on 01205 314202 where we can make an appointment with one of our officers, alternatively you can visit the Money advice services on the details below.
The Money Advice Service can also provide you with further help on budgeting and planning for Universal Credit. There is also advice on the bank accounts available to be able to receive your benefits.
Click on the following link to go to the Money Advice Service website: Money Advice Service
If you are a Social Landlord the DWP have produced a useful guide which can be found using the following link: Social Landlord Support Pack