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Universal Credit is coming – are you prepared?

 

5 Oct 2017

Universal Credit (UC) is replacing working age benefits and tax credits for individuals and families by combining them into a single monthly payment.
 
Any other benefits you are entitled to will continue as normal e.g. child benefit, personal independence payment, carers allowance etc.
 
Universal Credit is calculated and paid monthly and includes help with your rent so if you claim Housing Benefit now and make a claim for Universal Credit, your Housing Benefit will stop and you will be responsible for paying us your rent yourself, out of your Universal Credit.
 
Universal Credit is open to people in a wide range of situations whether you are in work, looking for work, or unable to work through sickness or caring responsibilities.
 
From October 2017 all those who are currently claiming the following will be slowly transferred across to Universal Credit:


 
From October 2017 anyone who has a change of circumstances that would require a new claim for benefit (for example if you failed your ESA medical assessment) would have to claim Universal Credit. If there is a possibility that you are affected by these changes now or in the future you will have received a free information booklet with this edition of Southway Stories.
 
How do I claim?
 
You have to fill out an online claim form on GOV.UK. If you are already claiming benefits, you won’t need to claim Universal Credit until you are told to do so by the DWP.
 
Don’t forget if you need help paying your Council Tax bill, you will need tomake a separate claim for Council Tax support. Go to www.manchester.gov.uk.
 
What if I can’t get online?
 
All claims to Universal Credit are made online. If you don’t have a computer, you can access a computer at our office at Aspen House, at one of the Community Centres in the area including Barlow Moor Community Centre, Old Moat Sure Start Centre and Westcroft Community Centre, and any of the libraries in the area. There are also computers you can use at the Job Centres.
 
If you need help completing your claim you can contact your local Job Centre or go to www.universalcreditonfo.net and enter your postcode to get a list of places where you can get help.
You can also call the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723 (or textphone 0345 600 0743).
 
What happens next?
 
Once you’ve made your claim, you’ll have a face to face interview at the Job Centre where you will need to agree and sign your ‘claimant commitment’, provide certain documents and discuss whether you’ll need help with budgeting.
 
So now is the time to start preparing. Some of the things to think about are:
 
  • Opening a bank account if you don’t have one already
  • Learning how to get online
  • Preparing for a monthly budget (including paying your rent)
     
We can help with all of these things if you think you might need it – including budgeting skills training courses, help with opening a bank account and Benefit Advice. Contact us at connect2southway@southwayhousing.co.uk, or call 0161 448 4200, and we will set you up with an appointment.
 
For a full guide to Universal Credit and Frequently Asked Questions, click here.