Universal Credit

How to claim

Universal Credit (UC) was introduced in Brent by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) for new single claimants previously eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance from March 2015. It replaces a range of benefits and tax credits for people of working age. However from 1 January 2018 the live Universal Credit roll out is now suspended up until Brent goes live with the full service Universal Credit roll out. The go live date for this is currently November / December 2018. 

Important announcement - All new claims online (from single claimants) will be for legacy benefits e.g. Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance and you will need to apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support (where appropriate) from Brent Council. 

To check you are affected please visit the GOV.UK website.

For regular updates please check this website for more information.

Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit for people of working age on a low income, administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

It is a single monthly payment which will eventually replace: 

  • Income support
  • Income related Job Seeker's Allowance
  • Income related Employment Support Allowance
  • Housing benefit
  • Working tax credit/child tax credit. 

 

Existing benefit claimants

If you're already claiming any benefits you don't need to do anything. You'll be told when UC will affect you.

New benefit claimants

From 1 January 2018 residents within Brent will be unable to claim Universal Credit. As such residents are required to claim one of the following benefits: 

  • Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance 
  • Income Support; and/or 
  • Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Support as appropriate to their circumstances. HB can be taken as part of the data gather for the above benefits through the benefit systems. Where this is not appropriate the claimant needs to be signposted to their local authority (LA) to make a claim.
  • Child Tax Credits and/or Working Tax Credits with HM Revenue & Customs.

The above change will run from 1 January 2018 until approximately November / December 2018 once Brent goes live with Universal Credit full service.

Please regularly check our website as we continually publicise updates as they become known to us.

Help with council tax

Help with council tax is not included in your Universal Credit payment. The Department for Work and Pensions will no longer accept a claim for Council Tax Support at the same time as you claim Universal Credit.

You must apply for Council Tax Support through the council's benefits service, and provide any evidence needed to support your claim. If you don't send your Council Tax Support claim to us when you apply for Universal Credit you may lose benefit.

UC Information

Help with housing costs

Any help you get with your rent will be included in your UC payment and you will be responsible for paying your landlord. In some circumstances payments can be made direct to the landlord, for example, when there are rent arrears or threat of eviction or you find it difficult to manage payments.

Payments

Universal Credit will be paid monthly to one person in the household. In some cases, the DWP may split payments (eg if your partner's spending has caused money problems). You can get full details on Gov.uk.

Help with rent will be included with your UC payment so you can pay your landlord.

Help and support with your claim

Your local job centre will be able to advise you on Universal Credit, payments and budgeting support. If you find it difficult to manage this new monthly payment please speak to your work coach.

If you need financial help before your UC payment is due and meet certain conditions, you can ask for an advanced payment. Please note that future payments will be reduced to pay for this advance.

Universal Credit helpline: 0345 600 0723

Help from DWP

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) aim to deliver support and information to help those affected to understand the changes and prepare for the move to Universal Credit.

Universal Credit personal planner

If you are currently claiming benefits and you want to know how Universal Credit might affect you in the future, you can use the Universal Credit personal planner to get a personal statement to find out what changes you may need to make to get ready for Universal Credit.

How we are involved

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises that there are customers who need help to claim Universal Credit and will require help with budgeting monthly.

The council is working in partnership with the DWP and other organisations to ensure that it delivers the help with claiming Universal Credit that some residents will need.
This partnership will deliver:

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

On-line activity

We are committed to helping our residents gain access to services via the internet.

Claims for Universal Credit will mainly be made online at GOV.UK Universal Credit.

Our libraries and Customer Service Centres have PCs available for residents to use. 
To assist with on-line claims for Universal Credit, staff will be available to help guide you through a claim. They will not be able to complete the form for you.

If you feel you are unable to use a computer to make your claim for UC then you will need to call 0845 600 0723 (there is a charge for this).

Personal budgeting support

Brent, in partnership with voluntary sector providers will assist customers of Universal Credit with personal budgeting support until 31 March 2016.

Personal budgeting support is about helping customers to adapt to three key changes that Universal Credit brings:

  • a single household payment which is
  • paid monthly
  • with the Universal Credit housing element paid directly to the customer who is then required to pay the rent to their landlord themselves.

Personal budgeting support will help customers to manage their money and pay their bills on time.