Universal credit

Universal Credit was introduced in 2013 by the government - it's being rolled out across the UK over a number of years, to replace the numerous benefits, with one single monthly payment, inlcuding:

  • working tax credit
  • child tax credit
  • housing benefit
  • income support
  • income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • income-related employment support allowance

Universal Credit will make the transition from benefits to work significantly easier:

‘Universal Credit will dramatically simplify the process of applying for different benefits as people move in and out of work or between jobs, eliminating the insecurity caused by gaps in income. Because the system will be simpler, it will also be much easier for people to understand how much better off they would be if they were to move into work’.

Pensioners won't be affected by Universal Credit changes, for the foreseeable future.

Universal Credit in York

As from 16 February 2015 all single people in York, of working age, who are new claimants of Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) will have to claim Universal Credit from the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP).

  • all applications are to be submitted online, go to Universal Credit application process for more details
  • customers that qualify will receive a single monthly payment of Universal Credit which will also include their housing costs, previously paid by Housing Benefit from us
  • single people claiming Universal Credit who need help with paying their Council Tax will have to complete a separate application for Local Council Tax Support, although the DWP will provide us with information that they have gathered for their Universal Credit claim to allow this to happen

Claiming of other types of benefits is unchanged and housing benefit will remain for tenants who are not single job seekers from February 2015. For others, the details of how Universal Credit will be rolled out, remain unclear. However, once a single Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) customer is receiving Universal Credit, they will remain on it even if they move into a relationship or have children.

Support with Universal Credit claims

The government recognises you may need help to:

We'll provide support to manage the process and the DWP will work with us, and their partners, to provide 'Universal Support Delivered Locally' (USDL).

This partnership will deliver:

  • supported online access
  • personal budgeting support
  • support from the DWP Universal Credit Service Centre on housing issues

For help to make a claim online or assistance with personal budgeting and support, please contact our Benefits team.

Services we offer include:

  • help setting up a monthly budget and budgeting advice
  • advice on finding the right bank account and how to open an account
  • different methods for paying your bills
  • identifying priority and non-priority bills
  • help with money worries
  • advice on making your money go further

What is different about Universal Credit?

The main differences between Universal Credit and the current welfare system are:

  • Universal Credit will be available to people who are in work and on a low income, as well as to those who are out of work
  • most people will apply online and manage their claim through an online account
  • Universal Credit will be responsive. As people on low incomes move in and out of work they’ll get ongoing support, giving them more incentive to work for any period of time that is available
  • most claimants on low incomes will still be paid Universal Credit when they first start a new job or increase their part-time hours
  • claimants will receive just one monthly payment in arrears, paid into a bank account in the same way as a monthly salary
  • support with housing costs will go direct to the claimant as part of their monthly payment
  • some employers will report changes in their employee earnings directly to Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) using Real Time Information software (RTI) meaning that, for some claimants, Universal Credit could be recalculated automatically when earnings go up or down

Further information

Our 'Setting up a basic bank account guide' provides simple details of how you can open a basic bank account.

The Money Advice Service, a free and impartial money advice set up by the government, provides:

  • advice and guides to help improve your finances
  • tools and calculators to help you keep track and plan ahead
  • support in person, over the phone and on-line

You can find out more information about Universal Credit from the GOV.UK website.

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