Universal Credit

What is Universal Credit?

The government has decided to replace several 'means tested' benefits with a single benefit.

The following benefits will be abolished:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit.

All of these benefits will be replaced by a new benefit called Universal Credit (UC).

UC is intended to support people who don't have enough money to live on, while encouraging as many people as possible to return to work.

It will be worked out in a similar way to the existing benefits, but will be paid on a monthly basis.

What does it mean for me?

Universal Credit will only apply to single people who are who are between the ages of 18 and 60 years and 6 months, newly unemployed, fit for work (that is, not unable to work because of being ill or disabled) and seeking work and who are not responsible for children. There are other restrictions too − seek advice.

Only at the following Derbyshire Jobcentres:

  • From 23 February 2015 − Ilkeston and Long Eaton
  • From 23 March 2015 − Chesterfield
  • From 1 June 2015 - Glossop
  • September 2015 to November 2015 − Belper, Heanor, Bolsover, Shirebrook, Matlock, Clay Cross, Staveley.

Any other new claims at these Jobcentres (for example, couples, people with children, people ill or disabled) will still be for existing benefits. Existing claims and claimants at other Jobcentres are not affected by this change.

How do I make a claim?

You will be expected to make your Universal Credit claim online.

You will be invited to an interview with your work coach to sign a Claimant Commitment. This sets out the responsibilities you have accepted in return for getting Universal Credit.

You must take four different items of ID with you to this interview, including photo ID. You will not receive any money until your Claimant Commitment is agreed.

Where can I get support?

If you need support ask your work coach at the Jobcentre for help with getting online, managing your money and looking for work.

You need to plan your finances carefully, as you will be paid monthly and you may have to wait 5 weeks or more for your claim to be paid.

You can get advice from Citizens Advice Bureau or make an appointment to see an adviser.

Derbyshire County Council have produced this short guide.

For help getting online try your local library or adult education centre.

If you think you will struggle for money in the meantime take advice straight away. Don’t leave it until you have no money for food or can’t pay your rent.

See also: Where to get help

© Financial Action & Advice Derbyshire 2014