Universal Credit will be introduced to Shepway from 25 January 2016. This will initially only be available to single people who would otherwise have claimed Job Seeker's Allowance when they make a new claim
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit will replace six existing benefits and merge them into one monthly payment that will made to the claimant. The six benefits that are being replaced are:
- Income Support
- Income based JobSeekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefits
For residents already receiving the existing benefits, there will be a phased move to Universal Credit, and everyone will be notified in advance that this is going to happen.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
Most claims for Universal Credit are made online on the GOV.UK website.
Housing Benefit when Universal Credit is introduced
If you claim Universal Credit and need help with rental costs this will included in the payment that you receive and replace Housing Benefit. Universal Credit will contain similar allowances towards rent as part of the Housing Element of the Universal Payment which is normally paid directly to the claimant.
Help with mortgages
Universal Credit contains a payment to help with mortgage interest, but this is only available for Universal Credit claimants who are not in paid employment.
How will Universal Credit be paid?
Payments will normally be made once a month in arrears to replicate a working wage.
Claimants must set up a bank account to receive their Universal Credit payments.
If you live with your partner and both claim Universal Credit you'll receive a single payment that covers you both.
Working while you claim Universal Credit
There are no limits to the number of hours you can work a week if you receive Universal Credit. Your payment will reduce gradually as you earn more and you won't lose all your benefits at once if you're on a low income.
How does this affect people of pension age?
You won't be able to claim Universal Credit if both you and your partner are over Pension Credit age. You will need to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit instead.
Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743