What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new welfare payment that rolls six existing benefits into one. Universal Credit is paid once a month into your bank account, and will replace the following benefits:
• Housing Benefit
• Income related Jobseeker’s Allowance
• Income related Employment and Support Allowance
• Tax Credits
• Income Support
• Child Benefits.
Who will claim Universal Credit?
Universal Credit will not apply to everyone. Until now, only single people have claimed Universal Credit. From February 2017, families and couples will begin to move onto Universal Credit as well. Certain factors will determine whether or not you will claim Universal Credit:
Age - You can only claim Universal Credit if you are under the pension age.
Address - From 22nd February 2017, residents of E3 and E14 will begin to move onto Universal Credit. Residents of E1 & E1C will begin to move onto Universal Credit from 29th March 2017. If you live outside of these post codes you will move onto Universal Credit in 2018.
Change in circumstances – If there is a change to your circumstances which affects the benefits you can claim, you may well move onto Universal Credit. For example, if you lose your job, have a child, or fall ill and have to stop working, you may move from the old benefits system onto Universal Credit. You will be told by the Local Authority if you are moving onto Universal Credit.
How is Universal Credit different?
1. You will have to apply for Universal Credit online. If you do not have access to a computer, or require assistance with completing an online application, get in touch with us on 020 8709 4300.
2. Universal Credit will be paid directly into a bank account on a monthly basis. You will need to set up a bank account in order to claim Universal Credit.
3. Your rent will no longer be paid directly to Gateway. You will still receive support for your housing costs, but it will be paid into your account each month. It will be your responsibility to pay your rent.
4. If you live with your partner, Universal Credit will be paid into a single account for the household. You can choose for the payment to go into a joint account, but there will only be one payment for you and your partner.
How can I get ready for Universal Credit?
The council will no longer pay your housing costs directly to your landlord. If you currently receive support for your housing costs, you will continue to do so, but it will be your responsibility to pay your rent.
The easiest way to pay your rent is by Direct Debit. A Direct Debit allows us to collect your rent from your account each month when it is due, ensuring that you do not enter into arrears. You can set up a direct debit by filling out the following form: Direct Debit Form
We recommend that you set up a Direct Debit to pay your rent the day after you receive payment each month. Universal Credit will be paid on the same day each month so you can predict when the money will be in your account.
For more information on Universal Credit and the ways that you can prepare, please visit the Money Advice Service
If you want to discuss any aspect of Universal Credit with us, please get in touch on 020 8709 4300 or come into our head office at 409 Mile End Road, E3 4PB for a chat.