Universal Credit Rolls Out On 2nd November in the Borough of Broxtowe
Universal Credit is part of the government’s Welfare Reform. It is a new benefit that is replacing the six existing benefits showing below with a single monthly payment if you are out of work or on a low income.
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Whether you can claim Universal Credit will depend on where you live and your personal circumstances. Universal Credit will be introduced in stages and will gradually be rolled out, and extended in the future, with the expectation all claimants will switch to Universal Credit by 2017.
Universal Credit is paid as a single monthly payment, usually into your bank or building society account, and will combine the six existing benefits detailed above. If you live with a partner and you both claim Universal Credit you’ll receive one single payment that covers both of you. Any help you get towards your rent will be included within your Universal Credit payment and you’ll then need to pay your landlord yourself.
There are no limits to the number of hours you can work a week if you receive Universal Credit, your payment will gradually reduce as you earn more and you won’t lose all your benefits at once if you are on a low income.
For further information regarding Universal Credit please click on ‘FAQ’s for Universal Credit’ located under the ‘Documents’ section of this page.
Will help with Council Tax be included in Universal Credit?
You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within Universal Credit. The Department for Work and Pensions cannot accept a claim for Council Tax Support, a separate claim form will need to be completed and sent to Broxtowe Borough Council. This form can be accessed via the ‘Offsite Links’ section of this page. You will have a duty to provide any evidence and information requested by Broxtowe Borough Council to support your claim, failure to do so will result in you paying your Council Tax in full.
You will also have a duty to report changes of circumstances, in writing, directly to Broxtowe Borough Council within 21 days of the change occurring. You cannot rely on the Jobcentre Plus or the Department for Work and Pensions to tell us about any changes.
What do you need to do?
If you already claim a benefit
If you already claim one of the six benefits detailed above you will continue to do so for now. If your current circumstances stay the same you will be invited to apply for Universal Credit at some point in the future as it is extended to more groups. However, if your current circumstances change you may be invited to apply for Universal Credit sooner.
If you are making a new benefit claim
From November 2015, if you are newly unemployed you may be eligible to make a claim for Universal Credit if you meet the following criteria;
- Be a British citizen with a National Insurance number, aged between 18 years and 60 years and 6 months
- Be single, with no dependent children
- Not be pregnant nor have given birth within the last 15 weeks
- Have a suitable, valid bank account for payments to be made into
- Live at your usual address, in an area where Universal Credit is available
- Not be homeless, or in supported or temporary accommodation, nor a homeowner
- Have lived in the UK for the last two years, and not have been abroad for more than four weeks continuously during that time
- Not live in the same household as a member of the regular or reserve forces who is away on duty
- Not be required to pay child maintenance via the Child Support Agency
- Not be responsible for a young person under 20 who is in non-advanced education or training
- Be fit for work
- Not have applied for a fitness for work note
- Not be entitled to or in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance(JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS), Incapacity Benefit (IB), Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Not be awaiting a decision on a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS), Housing Benefit (HB), Child Tax Credit (CTC) or Working Tax Credit (WTC)
- Not be appealing against a decision of non-entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Income Support (IS)
- Not be awaiting the outcome of an application to revise a decision of non-entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support (IS) or Housing Benefit (HB)
- Not have savings in excess of £6,000
- Not have any caring responsibilities
- Not be an approved foster parent (even if you currently have no foster children), not be expecting to adopt a child in the next two months or (where family claims may be made) have adopted a child within the last 12 months.
- Not be self-employed, a company director or part of a limited liability partnership
- Not be in education or on a training course of any kind
- Not have a person acting on your behalf over your claim
Please do not delay in making a claim for Universal Credit as the Department for Work and Pensions cannot backdate a claim unless exceptional circumstances are met. If you are not eligible to claim Universal Credit you will be advised to claim other benefits as normal.
Have a go at the Universal Credit Personal Planner to find out how you’ll be affected (takes 5 – 10 minutes) by clicking on the relevant heading under ‘Offsite Links’.
Apply online for Universal Credit
Apply online for Universal Credit by clicking on the relevant heading in ‘Offsite Links’.
Before you start your online application
Make sure you have the following information before you start as you cannot save your application and return to it later:
- Your Postcode
- Your National Insurance (NI) Number. You can find this on a payslip or letter from HMRC. You can call the HMRC helpline on 0300 200 3500 (textphone 0300 200 3519) to obtain this number if you do not know it.
- Details of the bank, building society, credit union or post office account you would like Universal Credit paid into.
- The type of accommodation you have eg private rent, council tenant or housing association tenant – make sure you check this before you apply.
- How much rent you pay – this can be found on your rent agreement (if you have one) or a rent statement from your landlord. Contact your landlord and request a copy of this information if you do not have it.
- Your Landlord’s address and telephone number – again this information can be found on your rent agreement (if you have one) or a rent statement from your landlord. Contact your landlord and request a copy of this information if you do not have it.
- Details of any savings you have and any other capital investments eg shares or property that you do not live in.
- Details of any income that’s not from work e.g. income from a pension or an insurance plan.
- Details of how much you earn from work eg recent payslips
- Details of any other benefits you are in receipt of ie what benefit and how much you get.
You’ll need to supply evidence for all these details when you go to your interview, so you’ll need to gather all the documents together, eg landlord agreement (or a letter from them with your rent amount on it), payslips, bank statements etc.
Where to make an online Application
Online applications can be made from a computer, a tablet or a smart phone.
If you do not have internet access, contact your local Job Centre for further assistance. They can offer face-to-face and telephone advice when making a claim and discuss any concerns that you may have, including making payments direct to your landlord if you think you will struggle to pay your rent. They can also help you to look for work. You will be invited to an interview with your work coach to sign a Claimant Commitment, which sets out the responsibilities you have in return for receiving Universal Credit.
Alternatively, take advantage of free Wi-Fi internet access that is offered by a range of shops, cafes, Libraries, Citizens Advice Bureau, Broxtowe Borough Council Beeston Office etc (click on the relevant headings under ‘Offsite Links’ for further information).
If you need support in making a claim contact your nearest Work Coach.
Other ways to apply
Contact the Universal Credit helpline if you need to apply by phone or in person.
You’ll usually need a reason for not being able to apply online, eg you can’t use a computer, or you have problems with reading or writing.
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Calls to this number can cost up to 9p a minute from a landline, or between 8p and 40p a minute from a mobile (your phone supplier can tell you how much you’ll pay) – you can call and ask them to call you back.
What other support is available?
Personal Budgeting Support
Universal Credit combines six existing benefits including Housing Benefit and is paid in one single payment. It will be paid calendar monthly in arrears which means that in most cases you will not receive any benefit until 46 days after you make your claim.
When you make your claim for Universal Credit the Jobcentre Plus advisor will ask you if you need help to budget and manage your monthly Universal Credit payment. If you think that you might have any difficulties at all in managing your money, it is important that you say yes to the Personal Budgeting Support. The Jobcentre Plus Advisor will pass your details on to Broxtowe Borough Council and we will arrange for one of our customer service staff or Broxtowe Citizens Advice Bureau, to contact you to discuss what help you need.
Money Advice Service (MAS)
Also the Money Advice Service (MAS), is a free, confidential, impartial independent on-line service set up by the government to help people manage their money better and includes information on where local advice can be obtained. To access this online service click on the relevant heading under ‘Offsite Links’.
Change of circumstances
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and have a change of circumstances (such as a partner or dependent child moves in, you start work, or move house) you must report this to the DWP on:
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
The Department of Work and Pensions will share information about your Universal Credit claim with Broxtowe Borough Council to decide how much Council Tax Support you may be entitled to. You will be asked to give permission to share data during your Universal Credit claim and / or at your Jobcentre Plus interview.
Broxtowe Borough Council have worked with the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure that data is transferred securely between the departments.