Universal Credit

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Universal Credit – Are you ready?

From November 2017 some of our tenants, that experience a change to their circumstances, may be required to apply for a new benefit called Universal Credit. Over the following months we anticipate that the roll out Universal Credit will increase and we will see more people across Shropshire making a new claim for Universal Credit. This is new benefit and is very different from the ‘old style’ legacy benefits. If you’re not sure what it’s all about or whether it will affect you go to our Frequently Asked Questions below and follow the links that apply to you. Please remember that advice and support is available.

Contact rents@starhousing.org.uk or call Bridgnorth 01746 335310/ Oswestry 01691 677230

Q. What is Universal Credit?

A. Universal Credit is a new in and out of work benefit that will eventually replace the following legacy benefits;

Income related job seekers Allowance, Income related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Child and Working Tax credits.

Q. What is happening in November 2017?

A. In our area currently only single people, who are out of work, can claim Universal Credit. However by the end of the year, in certain post codes, someone who has a change of circumstances will claim Universal Credit instead of the legacy benefits.

Q. Who will claim Universal Credit?

A. Eventually by 2020 everyone who is of working age and was claiming any of the above benefits will be in receipt of Universal Credit.

Q. How is Universal Credit paid?

A. Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears to your bank account. In some cases this can mean a wait of up to six weeks for your money and you will need to plan for this now.

Q. What do I need in order to apply for Universal Credit?

A. You will need a bank account and access to the internet as all applications are made online. There are many places where you can access the internet and get support if you don’t have access at home. Where can I get online?

Q. What does this mean for my family and me?

A. It’s important to start planning now how you will manage if you have to wait for your money for up to six weeks. If you rent your home from us we would like to know you’ve applied for Universal Credit so we can support you through the process.

Q. I was receiving Housing Benefit. What will this mean for me?

A. Your housing costs (formally housing benefit) will be included in your payment to your bank account as long as you prove you have a rent liability by providing a rent statement or tenancy agreement.

Q. My housing benefit used to go straight to my landlord who pays it now?

A. You do! It’s important that you ensure you pay your rent from your Universal Credit as your housing costs (formally housing benefit) will be included in your monthly payment.  Contact us and we can chat through the different payment options with you, as not paying your rent will put your home at risk.

Q. How do you claim?

A. Online via https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim

Q. How is Universal Credit calculated?

A. Universal Credit is calculated based on the family's income and circumstances. A family includes the adult and any partner, plus any dependent children/young people.

Q. I’m in work but receive child tax credits and working tax credits will I claim Universal Credit?

A. Yes! The Government plans that by 2020 everyone who is eligible will be claiming Universal Credit. We expect in Shropshire from February 2018, those that have a change of circumstances will claim Universal Credit instead of the legacy benefits detailed above. There are still a few exceptions to the rules so check here whether they apply to you Find out more

Q. Is there a limit to how many hours I can work with Universal Credit?

A. There’s no limit to the number of hours you can work a week if you get Universal Credit. Your payment will reduce gradually as you earn more. You won’t lose all your benefits at once if you’re on a low income.

Q. Will I still be entitled to childcare costs?

A. Workers with childcare costs may be entitled to some help towards these. Again, it’s complicated but advice is available. Help with childcare costs

Q. I still have a few questions where can I get further answers or advice?

A. Email  moneyadvice@starhousing.org.uk or call Caroline Morris 07794 948282

Alternatively go to https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit or Money Advice Service 

Are you getting all the benefits that you are entitled to? 

Will you be better off with Universal Credit? Follow this link to check and compare your benefit entitlements.

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