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Universal Credit

 

Universal Credit is a new benefit administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and not Gloucester City Council. The full service is being rolled out across Gloucester City from 21st February 2018 and paid monthly in arrears which will include Housing costs (rent).
Universal Credit supports people who are on a low income or out of work and brings together 6 benefits and tax credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment.  You will need to claim Universal Credit instead of new claims for:
Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Universal Credit full service is being rolled out across Gloucester from 21st February 2018.
If you are already claiming any of the previously mentioned benefits you will continue to receive them until a change in your circumstances prompts you to make a Universal Credit claim
Families with more than two children will not be affected at this time and those in temporary accommodation will need to claim Housing Benefit from April 2018.
If you are unsure whether to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit then you can check here

Households of working age who claim in or out of work benefits will be affected. This includes:

  • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

You will still need to claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • Have more than 2 children or
  • Lin in supported accommodation ((or temporary accommodation from April 2018)
  • Are of State Pension age

You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within Universal Credit and instead will still need to apply for council tax support separately through Gloucester City Council online.
Click here to apply online today

There is nothing more important than a roof over your head, so always make rent your top priority. If you're used to Housing Benefit paying your rent, you need to arrange a new payment method. If you have claimed Universal Credit, it's important to tell your landlord so that proof of rent can be supplied to the DWP and you avoid any other delays in receiving your payment of housing costs for your rent.
If you have a social housing tenancy, your landlord may be offering their own support for help with Universal credit and it may be worth enquiring about this when you tell them about your circumstances.
In the meantime, it is important that you prepare for Universal Credit. Follow the 7 point plan detailed below:

  1. Make sure you have a bank account
    To receive Universal Credit you will need a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as a Credit Union. The account will need to be able to accept electronic payments for example, setting up direct debits.
  2. Decide whether you need a joint account
    If you live with your partner and you're both eligible for Universal Credit, you'll get a single monthly payment which can be paid into either a joint or an individual account. You can ask the DWP to split the payment if you have exceptional circumstances.
  3. Set up a suitable payment method to pay your rent.
    If you currently get Housing Benefit, your rent will no longer be paid to directly to your landlord. Instead of Housing Benefit, this payment will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment and you will need to pay your landlord yourself, e.g. via Direct Debit. If you have a Credit Union account, a prepaid card account or a post office card account, check that you can set up automated payments such as Direct Debits for things like rent and bills. If you can't, it is important you open an account which offers this.
  4. Draw up a monthly budget
    Because Universal Credit is paid monthly, you may need to make changes to the way you budget. Universal Credit payments will be made monthly in arrears but you won't be able to pay your rent in arrears at the end of the month. You'll need to make sure that your rent is paid in advance so that you don't break the terms of your tenancy agreement. You will be offered personal budgeting support from Job Centre Plus when you claim Universal Credit and this will be provided here at Gloucester City Council                                                         There are also online tools available that can help you get started. Universal Credit Money Manager offers great support if you have already made a claim. The Money Advice Service also have their own budget planner for you to get started.
    It is important to seek help if you are having financial difficulty. Don't get caught out by high interest lenders or payday loans if you are struggling to meet all your financial commitments. See our help and support pages for more information and guidance.
  5. Plan ahead with your rent and council tax, make it a priority
    Make small extra payments onto your rent account so that you have a credit in place for when you do make a claim for Universal Credit. You could also start to put some money aside to cover your priority bills like council tax to prevent falling into arrears. Your first Universal Credit payment will take at least 5 weeks to be paid and could be longer if DWP don't have all your details verified.
  6. Internet access
    The Department of Work and Pensions expect you to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online. If you need help getting online, speak to your local Job Centre Plus or you can use a computer at your local library.
    Learn My Way provides free support courses on using a computer, browsing the web, sending emails and finding work online if you need extra help to get started.
  7. Verify
    In order to submit a claim for Universal Credit you will be asked to verify your ID at the end of the online application. You can plan ahead by verifying yourself now in order to speed up the payment process for when you make an application at www.gov.uk/verify, this will also give you access to other government processes such as state pension forecasts.

Universal Credit is being rolled out in Gloucester on 21st February 2018 and you may no longer be eligible for Housing Benefit.  If you are unsure whether to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit please check here first.
If you do not qualify for Universal Credit then you should claim other benefits for your circumstances. Use the entitledto benefits calculator to check your eligibility for other help you may be entitled to.
Once you have checked that you need to claim Universal Credit click here to start your application


Help with your application
Your Job Centre Plus work coach can provide you with assistance in making a claim. You can also call the free helpline for support on 0800 328 5644.


The Department of Work and Pensions have also created a video which explains the full claim process, further help and guidance is available at Gov.UK

Citizens Advice website also offers information and guidance.
If you are homeless, this guide takes you through the basics of how to make and manage a claim for Universal Credit

In order to submit a claim for Universal Credit you will be asked to verify your ID at the end of the online application. However, if you do this before making a claim, it will speed up the Universal Credit application process.  This gives safer, simpler and faster access to government services like filing your tax or checking the information on your driving licence.
It takes about 15 minutes to verify your identity the first time you use GOV.UK Verify, and a couple of minutes any time after that.
Receiving your first payment
When you make a new claim for Universal Credit you will have at least a five week wait for your first payment:
  • a calendar month before your entitlement is assessed
  • up to 7 days for your payment to be processed

You will then be paid calendar monthly and in arrears. If you are used to working out your budget weekly or fortnightly you will need to think about how you'll manage your money for a whole month. Continue to 'Help and Support for Universal Credit claimants and landlords' to find out about support available during and after this period.

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