The government's long-awaited Universal Credit is being rolled out in Brent from November 2018 on the following dates:
- 21 November 2018 for Harlesden Job Centre
- 5 December 2018 for Wembley Job Centre
This means that residents with a change in circumstances or those moving into Brent making a claim for the first time will have to apply for Universal Credit instead of the benefits listed below:
- Housing Benefit
- Job Seeker's Allowance (income based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (income related)
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
The six benefits above will be merged into one single payment - Universal Credit. Unlike many of the existing benefits, Universal Credit will be paid once a month, rather than weekly, fortnightly or four weekly as housing benefit is traditionally paid, and will be paid directly into the claimant's bank account in arrears. This is a change for many residents who currently have their housing benefit paid direct to their landlord.
The government wants all Universal Credit claims to be both made and updated online. If residents do not have access to the internet, they will be able to visit one of the above Job Centres for assistance. Each Job Centre will have a front of house team specifically set up to help and assist residents to make and maintain their Universal Credit claims online.
To make an application for Universal Credit, residents will need to apply directly to the Department for Work and Pensions via their website https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit There is also a free helpline available for those that need any extra support: 0800 328 5644.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Housing and Welfare Reform said:
"These are huge changes, particularly for residents who are already struggling to get by. The first port of call for formal advice is the DWP, who are implementing the changes. However, I want to remind residents that the council is here to help and you should contact us if you're worried that you might be falling into rent arrears or if you need support with your council tax."
For more information on Universal Credit: www.brent.gov.uk/universalcredit