Your Money Matters 
 Information and advice for Tameside residents 
 Welfare Reform in 
 Tameside 

 Information and advice for 
 Tameside residents 
 Welfare 
 Reform in 
 Tameside 

Universal Credit

From 2013, Universal Credit is gradually replacing the following benefits for people under Pension Credit qualifying age:

  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit (for most types of accommodation)

The aim of Universal Credit is to simplify the benefits system, and to ensure that claimants will always be better-off returning to work or increasing their earnings from work.

When will Universal Credit affect me?

In Tameside, many people under Pension Credit qualifying age can no longer make a new claim for Income-Based Jobseekers and Housing Benefit, and will have to claim Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credit will gradually be rolled-out to include new groups of people (e.g. people with a mortgage, or people who are self-employed).

For up-to-date information on who can and cannot get Universal Credit in Tameside, please see the Tameside MBC website.

How can I claim Universal Credit?

Most people will have to claim Universal Credit on-line. To find out where you can get help to do this, please see the Tameside MBC website.

Council Tax Support is not being replaced by Universal Credit, so you will need to claim this benefit separately here.

How much Universal Credit will I get?

Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It is a means-tested benefit, which means your income and savings affect whether you can get it, and how much you can get. Your National Insurance contributions are not taken into account.

How much Universal Credit you get also depends on your circumstances, as the amount you are awarded will be made up of different ‘elements’ (e.g. a ‘housing costs element’ if you are eligible to pay rent, and amounts for children).

Universal credit will not be paid for the first seven days of your universal credit award.

The New Charter benefit calculator can estimate how much Universal Credit you may get.

Problems with Universal Credit

The ‘elements’ of Universal Credit you get affect how much you are expected to do to look for work. These expectations are called your ‘work-related requirements’, and should be set out in your Claimant Commitment, which you will have to sign in order to get Universal Credit.

If you fail to do what is set out in your Claimant Commitment, and cannot show ‘good cause’ for failing to do so, your Universal Credit may be stopped or reduced for a while (i.e. you will be ‘sanctioned’).

If you are ‘sanctioned’, or are refused Universal Credit, you usually only have 1 month to ask the DWP too look at its decision again. If you miss this deadline, you risk losing the right to appeal to an independent tribunal at a later date.

For more information, please see the Universal Credit Sanctions Factsheet.

If you have claimed Universal Credit and are facing hardship whilst you wait for your first payment, ask the DWP for a ‘short-term advance’ of your Universal Credit. You will have to show that there is a risk to you or your family’s safety or health if an advance is not given.

Universal Credit is paid monthly, in arrears. Previously, some people were having their Housing Benefit paid to their landlord to help cover their rent. Universal Credit payments include an amount for housing costs, so you will have to arrange to pay your rent to your landlord.

There may be exceptional circumstances when some of your Universal Credit can be paid directly to your landlord to help cover your rent. Please seek advice if you need to know more.

You are expected to have a bank, building society or Post Office account for Universal Credit to be paid into. If you are claiming Universal Credit as a couple, you will need to set up a joint account, or agree who should get the money paid into their account.

Further information and advice

The Citizens Advice Bureaux AdviceGuide has useful and up-to-date information on Universal Credit.

The Tameside MBC website has information on Universal Credit aimed specifically for Tameside residents.

If you are a Tameside resident, you can search for local advice services here.

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