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In West Dunbartonshire, Universal Credit (UC) Full Service commences on 28th November 2018.  Six of the main means-tested benefits and tax credits will be affected:

  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Universal Credit should simplify the benefits system by paying a range of working-age benefits together as one single payment.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. Universal Credit is different because it is a single benefit which will replace all of the following benefits:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

How do I make a new claim?

You need to make a claim online at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

You should be aware that:

  • If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then need to pay your landlord directly.
  • If you live with someone as a couple and you are both required to claim UC, you will get one monthly joint payment paid into a single bank account.
  • There are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you’re claiming UC. Instead, the amount you get will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won’t lose all your benefits at once.

What do I need to make the claim?

You will need the following information and documentation to make a claim for Universal Credit:

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Details of your bank account
  • An email address
  • The actual amount of rent you pay to your landlord
  • Details of any income you may have
  • Details of savings or investments
  • Details of how much you pay for childcare (if you need help with childcare costs)

How much will I receive?

Universal Credit is made up of a standard personal allowance plus elements for one or more of the following:

  • housing costs
  • if you are a carer
  • childcare costs
  • if you have any disabled children
  • if you are ill or disabled

Your maximum Universal Credit Award is made up of:

  • one standard allowance for your household, plus
  • any elements which cover your family circumstances

You will get the maximum award if your household has no other earnings and savings or capital of £6,000 or less.

If you or someone in your household has other earnings and/or savings, these will be taken into account when working out your Universal Credit payment.

When will I receive my first payment?

You will typically receive your first payment of UC five weeks from the date on which you complete your online claim.  Your circumstances are assessed each month, this period is known as your assessment period, you are typically then paid seven days after your assessment period has ended each month.

How will I manage for 5 weeks without a payment?

If you cannot manage you can request a Universal Credit Advance, you can do this by discussing your situation with your work coach or by phoning the DWP on 0800 328 5644.  UC Advances can also be requested via your online journal.

Will my rent be paid to my landlord?

No you will receive you payments for rent as part of your Universal Credit payment each month.  You will however have the option to request these payments are made directly to your landlord.

Do I also receive my council tax reduction in my Universal Credit payment?

No, you will need to apply for this separately. Visit the apply for a Council Tax Reduction page to complete the form.

I have heard that there are different rules in Scotland is this correct?

These are called Universal Credit (Scottish Choices).

When you claim Universal Credit you will be offered these choices via your online journal following receipt of your first payment of UC.  The choices offered to you will be the following:

  • Direct payment of your rent costs to your landlord
  • Payment of UC twice-monthly