I heard about Universal Credit, but am not sure what it is. Can you help?
Universal Credit is a new benefit that is being introduced for people of working age. It’s a means-tested benefit so the amount you receive depends on how much income and capital you’ve got, things like savings and some kinds of property. You don’t have to be out of work to get it. You may be able to get it if you’re working, looking for work, sick or disabled, or caring for children or a disabled person. If your circumstances change, for instance you start working more hours, you won’t lose all your Universal Credit, instead, payments will reduce as your earnings go up.
Universal Credit payments are not taxable and will be paid monthly. Eventually it will replace the following benefits and tax credits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Budgeting loans – you’ll receive an advance payment of UC
We expect Universal Credit to be rolled out in South Hams in November 2015, and initially it will only apply to new claims from single people, who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claims.
You’ll have to meet various conditions to get Universal Credit. These include accepting a ‘claimant commitment’, which says what you’ll have to do in relation to your work claim, and a face-to-face interview at a Jobcentre Plus office.
To make an online claim go to www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit or call the helpline: 0345 600 0723, Textphone: 0345 600 0743.