What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is part of the government’s Welfare Reform. It is a single monthly payment for people out of work or on a low income and will replace six existing benefits.
Universal Credit is replacing:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
What is different about Universal Credit?
Universal credit is claimed online. Payments are made monthly in arrears directly into your account if you are a tenant. It also includes an amount for your housing costs (rent payment). You are responsible for paying rent to your landlord.
Is Universal Credit just for people who are unemployed?
No. It is a benefit for anyone on a low to moderate income. It does not matter whether you are in work, out of work or how many hours you work. It can also apply if you are a carer, have child care costs or if you are too ill to work.
When is it coming to Leeds?
Universal Credit is currently being introduced in stages across the country starting with newly unemployed single people. It will gradually be introduced to other groups of people over the next few years.
Only newly unemployed single people from1st Feb 2016 will need to apply for Universal Credit. It replaces Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
To find out if you will be eligible to claim Universal Credit from 1st February 2016, please visit the DWP ‘s Universal Credit eligibility criteria page here.
What does it mean for me?
Most people are not affected on 1st Feb 2016. This is because it initially only affects newly unemployed single people. If you already get one of the six benefits that will be eventually replaced by Universal Credit, you will carry on receiving these benefits until:
- You need to make a new claim for JSA
- Universal Credit is extended to other groups. If this happens, you will get a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to let you know when this is happening.
If you pay Council Tax and you get Universal Credit you will need to claim Council Tax Support or pay the Council Tax in full. From 1 April 2017 there is a new Council Tax Support Scheme for people who have claimed Universal Credit. Find out more by visiting our Universal Credit and Council Tax Support page.
If you receive Universal Credit and want to apply for Council Tax Support you can download our Council Tax Support application form (PDF 123KB) for Universal Credit claimants.
You are not affected if you are of Pension Credit age. You will continue to claim Pension Credit and Housing Benefit instead.
To check if you are of Pension Credit age, please visit the DWP website here: https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension