- From Jan 2018, residents will be able to receive 100% of their advance payment of UC rather than 50% and will have 12 months to repay it.
- From 14 Feb 2018, the first 7 days wait before entitlement of UC is granted has been removed.
- From 11 April 2018, a two-week roll-on of Housing Benefit for new UC claimants will be available.
- No new live service UC claims from January 2018 onwards until full service reaches the local Job Centre Plus.
- UC claimants will be able to apply for their advance payment online from the spring.
- Claimants in temporary accommodation will receive additional support with housing costs to ensure these are paid direct to their landlord.
- From 11 April 2018, the DWP will have the discretion to lengthen a UC claimant’s first assessment period to more than one month to incorporate a backdate.
Universal Credit (UC) brings together the following benefits into a single payment:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s allowance
- Income-related employment support allowance
- Income support
- Working tax credits
- Child benefit/tax credits
- Housing benefit
Please note: If you are claiming UC then you MUST also claim council tax support directly from your local authority otherwise you may fall behind with your payments.
UC full service applies in the following local authority areas for all working age tenants and household types:
- Hinckley & Bosworth
- North West Leicestershire
- South Kesteven
From January 2018, no new live service claims will be possible via all other local authority areas for working age singles with no children. If you or anyone in your household is of working age and needs to make a new claim for any of the benefits listed above, or has a change of circumstances and lives in one of the nine listed areas, you will be moved over to the full service UC. To see when your local authority will move to the full service UC please check the following download.
UC will be paid monthly in arrears directly into your bank or building society account, so you should budget for your money to last the whole month. Please note that UC payments are not backdated, so it is important to claim as soon as possible.
From April 2018, tenants who were previously claiming Housing Benefit prior to making their UC claim will be entitled to receive a additional two weeks of Housing Benefit. You will not need to apply for this and will be expected to pay this towards your rent account. If you have previously been overpaid Housing Benefit, this additional money towards your rent could be used to reduce your overpayment and you will need to ensure your rent is paid in full once you receive your first payment of UC in approx 5/6 weeks time. Once your UC claim is paid into your bank account, you will be responsible for paying your rent and service charges to us.
UC can only be claimed via the internet and you are expected to manage your claim through an online account. Claims will be administered by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) at a central location rather than by your local council, Job Centre Plus, or benefits agency.
If you have three or more dependent children you will still need to make a claim for Housing Benefit. In full service areas you will remain on legacy benefits until January 2019.
You can find more helpful advice on the Money Advice Service website.
If you have any further questions, please call us on 0300 123 6000.
You can download our pocket guide to Universal Credit here:
Our staff have been trained to understand the changes and how they will affect you, and can help you to:
- claim Universal Credit via the internet
- budget with your monthly payment and paying your rent
- open a bank account
- save for the changes in case you need to make a claim in the future
- contact your other creditors to agree affordable repayments for you
Please remember that when you are asked "Do you pay rent for the home where you live?" you MUST answer "Yes" if your rent is currently covered by Housing Benefit. If you fail to do so, your claim will NOT include a rent element and any subsequent appeal may not necessarily mean that the rent element is backdated to the date of your initial claim.
Watch this video on how to claim UC and then make your claim.