Universal Credit

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As you are probably aware Universal Credit is a benefit which is gradually being integrated into to current system. Due to the nature of this transition, it is a move which is forecast to take some considerable time – however, there are certain areas within the UK where changes have already been completed.

To make the subject of Universal Credit a little easier we have highlighted what to expect if your area has already made to change or remains on the existing benefit system.

What is Universal Credit?

Quite simply, ‘Universal Credit’ is a benefit awarded to qualifying applicants who are either on a low income or out of work.

It is important to note that Universal Credit is awarded depending on location and personal circumstances.

Not sure if Universal Credit operates in your area? Simply contact your local Jobcentre to ascertain if you are living in an active Universal Credit location – alternatively there is a full list of regions listed at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

If you are not eligible for Universal Credit you may qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance or an alternative benefit.

Claiming Universal Credit

Applying for Universal Credit can be done quickly and safely online via www.gov.uk/universal-credit. Of course if you have any queries regarding your application the Universal Credit helpline is available from 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

Applications generally take between 20-40 minutes and if successful payments are usually made 1 month & 7 days following acceptance.

In order to process your claim as efficiently as possible it is essential to have the following information ready:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Details of existing benefits
  • Income, savings & capital amounts
  • Rental agreement information
  • Postcode
  • Bank, building society or post office details of the account you would like your Universal Credit paid into

Please note that you may have to answer questions regarding others living in the same household for example a partner.

Universal Credit and Existing Benefits

Are you aware that there are certain benefits which cannot be claimed alongside Universal Credit, for example Tax Credits?

Universal CreditIt is also important to be aware that Universal Credit is designed to replace:

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit

Contacting the Universal Credit Customer Services Team

Like to discuss your Universal Credit enquiry with a member of their Customer Services team via their dedicated helpline? Advisers are available from 9am until 5pm on a Monday to Friday.

Working & Claiming Universal Credit

Depending on the amount of hours you work and the amount you earn, it is on occasion still possible to claim Universal Credit. Any reduction in your benefit payments will be made gradually.

Any changes in your circumstances must always be reported to the Universal Credit team.

How regularly is Universal Credit paid?

Universal Credit payments are usually made into your bank or building society on a once monthly basis. Any payments covering you and your partner will be made as a single transfer. If you receive rental assistance, the relevant payments should be made from your Universal Credit allowance.

Appealing your Universal Credit Decision?

Unfortunately there are occasions when applicants are not satisfied with their Universal Credit agreement. Should you wish to appeal it is imperative that you first apply for ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ – available in the first instance by writing to the council responsible for making the initial Universal Credit decision.

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