As part of the Welfare Reform Act, the government is introducing Universal Credit. This is a single payment which replaces means-tested benefits. Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and is expected to be introduced in Westminster from September - December 2015.
What you need to know
Universal Credit is a single benefit which will replace a range of existing means-tested benefits and tax credits for people of working age.
It will replace:
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support.
One of the main changes for tenants is that while Housing Benefit is currently paid directly into tenants rent accounts, Universal Credit will be paid direct to the tenant. This means that tenants will need to make arrangements to pay their rent out of the Universal Credit payment. Tenants will be able to pay in the same way they currently do, but it may be easier to pay by Direct Debit to ensure the correct amount is paid on time.
Who will be affected?
When Universal Credit is introduced in Westminster, new claimants for Jobseeker's Allowance are likely to be asked to make an application for this.
Applications for Universal Credit can be made online at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. When the application has been submitted, an interview is arranged at the persons' local Jobcentre Plus, where supporting documentation such as the tenancy agreement and copies of any rent increase letters are provided.
How can I prepare?
There is further information on how to prepare for Universal Credit at https://secureonline.dwp.gov.uk/universal-credit-preparation. There is also information on bank accounts, ways to get online and budgeting.
If you answer 'no' to any of the following questions, you can also contact CityWest Homes for advice on what to do next:
- Are you confident that you can manage a monthly budget?
- Do you have a bank account, excluding the Post Office account?
- Are you able to access the internet either at home, on a mobile device or for free at a local library or community centre?
If you have any questions about Universal Credit please contact your local estate office or email firstname.lastname@example.org.