Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work.
Universal Credit will replace:
Any benefits received which are not included in the above list will continue to be paid as usual, such as Child Benefit, Carers Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Council Tax Support and so on.
Universal Credit will be paid once a month, as a single payment, into the claimants chosen account. The first payment will be made one calendar month and seven days after the date of claim, and then calendar monthly after that.
Claims are expected to be made online. Assisting with online claims at Job centres and Local Councils can provide support.
If you’re on Housing Benefit or receive the housing element of Universal Credit but find you are not being paid the full amount, you may be able to claim a Discretionary Housing Payment. You will need to contact your local authority to apply, you can use the link below to find your local authority.
If you struggle with completing applications please contact the office for assistance.
If you are receiving Universal Credit you will now need to apply for a Council Tax Reduction directly with your local authority (see above).
If you are claiming Housing Benefit you will need to tick the box so that this is included in your claim as this is no longer automatic.
There are lots of ways to help manage your money, from budgeting tools to expert advice from sources such as the Money Saving Expert https://www.moneysavingexpert.com which has lots of guidance, as well as news and information on a range of subjects.
Money Helper is a fantastic tool that offers everything from budget planning to benefit advice and debt advice. It’s online and free. Simply go to their website https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en
There are a range of charitable organisations specialising in debt advice. These include:
National Debtline who can be contacted on 0808 808 4000. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm; Saturday 9.30am to 1pm. The website address is www.nationaldebtline.org.
StepChange Debt Charity can be contacted on 0800 138 1111. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am until 8pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm. The website address is http://www.stepchange.org/.
Many local authorities have put together financial packages to assist with the rise in energy prices. Make sure to contact yours and find out if any assistance is available. If you have a gas supplier, they also may be offering grants or other financial help so contact them too, to discuss your options. https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
Pocket Power provide a free phone service to help people switch to cheaper deals and apply for discounts for their household bills. Follow the link to their website to book a call https://pocket-power.co.uk/# .
The Money Advice Service is a fantastic new tool that offers everything from budget planning to benefit advice and debt advice.
It’s online and free. Simply go to their website http://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk and click on the ‘Your money’ tab.
As well as lots of general information, at the bottom of this page is their ‘personal money health check’.
This fully automated, anonymous process will ask questions with ‘yes or ‘no’ type answers and lead to a plan to get day-to-day money back on track. It covers a lot of ground, from finding out whether people are getting all the benefits their entitled, checking they are not paying too much tax, giving tips on boosting income, right down to how to make savings by getting better deals.
Depending on which sections are answered and how fast buttons are clicked the whole process can take up to an hour.
The application can be saved at any time during the process, to enable it to be progressed at another time.