What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a new benefit for people living on a low income. It is a benefit which can be paid to people when they are both out of work or in work. There are no limits to the number of hours you can work a week if you receive Universal Credit. Due to this Universal Credit will make it easier to start a new job or work more hours.
Universal Credit replaces 6 other benefits with a simpler, single monthly payment. When Universal Credit is fully rolled out it will replace:
- Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
Universal Credit will therefore include help with the cost of housing, children, childcare and other living expenses. It will also give financial support to disabled people and carers and people who are too sick to work.
What does it mean to me?
Universal Credit is introduced in stages. Whether you can claim it will be depend on where you live and your personal circumstances. So far, in Burnley, Universal Credit only applies to a small number of people. These people can claim Universal Credit in the Burnley area from 6th October 2014 onwards.
If you aren’t eligible for Universal Credit now, you may still be able to claim other benefits, such as Jobseekers Allowance.
If you are already claiming benefits you will not be able to claim Universal Credit yet. You will carry on claiming your benefits as usual.
How do I make a claim?
You will be expected to make your Universal Credit claim online at GOV.UK Apply for Universal Credit. If you don’t have a computer at home, you can use the computers at your local Jobcentre.
If you require assistance to complete your online claim form you can come to Burnley Council’s Contact Burnley office and a member of staff will help you claim online using one of our computers.
What information do I need to claim online?
You need the following to complete a claim:
- Your National Insurance number
- Details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit
- will be paid
- Your rent agreement (if you have one)
- Details of any savings and other capital
- Details of any non-work income - for example income from an insurance plan
- Details of any other benefits you already get
You might also need these details for people who live in your home, eg your partner.
You will not be able to save the online application and go back to it. You must allow time for the form to be completed. It may take between 20 and 40 minutes.
Claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in exceptional circumstances. You therefore need to make your claim straight away.
What happens after I’ve claimed?
You will be invited to attend an interview at the Jobcentre. Here you will meet your work coach to sign a Claimant Commitment. This sets out the responsibilities you have accepted in return for getting Universal Credit.
Where can I get support?
Your work coach at the Jobcentre will make sure you have the right help to get online, manage your money and find work.
You can get advice online about getting ready for Universal Credit. Visit the GOV.UK Universal Credit pages to find out more.
You can get help with budgeting from the Money Advice Service.
The Money Advice Service have created some online resources that may be helpful to you: please click below.
If you want support on finding work, why not go along to the Burnley work club?
This is free to attend for anyone looking for a job. The weekly sessions take place on Wednesday afternoons from 2 pm to 5 pm at Burnley Central libary, Grimshaw Street.
They are organised by Lancashire Adult Learning. They offer advice and support on finding work and training opportunities.
Jobseekers can get help, advice and support with a number of things including writing a CV, interview tips and practice and searching and applying for jobs locally, nationally and abroad.
Plus, one-to-one advice is available from a tutor at the beginning of the session, from 2 pm, to help people to make the most of their time.
Can I get further help with budgeting?
When you speak to your work coach at the Jobcentre you may feel that you need more help with managing your money. Your work coach will mention that personal budgeting support is available. If you would like to take this offer up your details will be passed to Burnley Council and we will contact you to discuss how we can provide this budgeting support.
Will help with Council Tax be included in Universal Credit?
You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within Universal Credit.
The Department for Work and Pensions will not be able to accept a claim for Council Tax Support. A separate claim form will be required and any evidence will need to be provided to Burnley Council directly.