Hello, I’m Nadine, Southway Housing’s Universal Credit Officer and welcome to my blog.
I am available to offer you advice and guidance on preparing for and making a claim for Universal Credit, in addition to how you can manage until your first payment.
As a relatively new benefit, Universal Credit can be confusing, and I’ve spoken to many people who have found the process of claiming to be a struggle. With these blogs, I intend to address a variety of topics within Universal Credit, to offer clarity where needed and, hopefully, provide some peace of mind.
If you are unsure on anything regarding Universal Credit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and make an appointment. Click here to contact me, email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into reception: I’ll always be happy to help.
For my first blog, I wanted to address one of the most important questions about Universal Credit: “Should I make a claim?”
To answer this, there are two things we need to consider; whether you are eligible to claim Universal Credit and whether you are currently claiming benefits.
Who can get Universal Credit
To get Universal Credit, you must:
- Be 18 years old or over (although, 16 or 17 year olds can claim in some circumstances)
- Be of working age (currently 66 years old or younger)
- Live in the UK - there are extra rules you’ll need to meet if you’re not a British citizen
- Have less than £16,000 in savings
Who cannot get Universal Credit
In most circumstances, people who fall under the following criteria, cannot claim Universal Credit:
- You currently receive a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium (SDP).
- You’re in full-time education or training (although there are some exceptions)
- You have immigrated from a country outside of Europe and are under immigration control.
- You are waiting for a decision on an asylum application (you may be eligible for Asylum Support instead)
It’s important to remember that this is the general criteria for claiming Universal Credit, and some situations may provide exceptions to these rules. If you are unsure on whether you would qualify for Universal Credit, please get in touch.
If you’re already claiming benefits
Universal Credit will gradually replace 6 ‘legacy’ benefits. These are:
- Housing Benefit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Support
If you are currently receiving one or more of these benefits, then you will not have to make a claim for Universal Credit until you are told to. All of these benefits will eventually be replaced by UC by the end of 2023, so until then, you do not need to take any action, unless:
- There is a change in your circumstance that means you will need to move to UC (you will be told if this is the case)
- Your claim to one or more of these benefits is stopped indefinitely.
If your claim to one or more legacy benefits is stopped, it is usually worth appealing this decision before making a claim for Universal Credit.
If you are unsure on what changes may affect the benefits you currently receive, or on how to make an appeal to reinstate a legacy benefit, please get in touch.
If you’re not claiming benefits
Then, provided you meet the criteria above, it is likely you will need to claim Universal Credit.
So, to return to the question: “Should I make a claim for Universal Credit?”
You should now, hopefully, have a good idea of whether to claim Universal Credit or not, based on the criteria above. I do understand that everyone’s situation is different, so if you need some more advice, please get in touch so we can work out the best course of action for you.
Get in touch
I want to know what aspects of Universal Credit matter to you! If you have any questions or worries about UC that you’d like me to cover in a future blog post, please get in touch and let me know. You can send an email or send a message through Facebook or Twitter.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts, suggestions and queries.