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Benefits

Universal Credit: how it affects you

Universal Credit is coming to East Renfrewshire on 26 September 2018. Find out what's different and how it affects you if you claim benefits.

Universal Credit is one single payment

DWP manages and pays Universal Credit (UC). It aims to make benefits simpler by replacing:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

New benefit claims

If you need to apply for any of the old benefits after 26 September 2018, you'll claim UC instead.

Existing benefit claims

UC will only affect some people straight away.

If there's a major change to your circumstances after 26 September, you'll transfer to UC. An example of a major change includes a birth, bereavement or a partner moving in or out of the home.

If you don't make a new claim or have a major change to your circumstances, you'll stay on your current benefit for now.

All existing claimants will transfer to UC between 2019 and 2023.

DWP will let you know when this will affect you.

If you get Housing Benefit

Your rent will no longer be paid direct to your landlord. You need to pay your rent yourself and you're responsible for paying your rent on time.

You need to ask DWP to pay rent direct to your landlord. You can only do this once you get your first payment.

If you have rent arrears, your landlord can also ask DWP to pay rent direct to them. DWP call this an Alternative Payment Arrangement.

If you qualify for help with housing costs, it's included in your UC payment.

When you apply online, make sure you tick the box to confirm you have housing costs to pay. If you don't, it won't be included.

If you get council tax reduction

UC doesn't include a payment for council tax.

You must apply for a Apply for a council tax reduction after you apply for UC. 

You won't need to apply again if you're transferred to UC and you still qualify for council tax reduction.

You can only claim online

You can only claim UC online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit

You also need an email address.

If you don't have access to the Internet or need help to make your claim, you can:

  • visit your nearest Jobcentre Plus
  • make an appointment with Money Advice and Rights Team (MART) or Citizens Advice
  • get online at your local library

pdf icon Find out more about digital support to get online [78kb]

You can claim for an advance payment

Your first UC payment can take around 5 weeks.

If you're going to have problems while waiting for your first payment, you can claim an advance.

You can claim up to 1 month's UC payment interest free. It takes 5 days to process. You have 12 months to pay back this loan and it's taken from your UC payments.

You can apply for this once you've submitted your UC claim by contacting Jobcentre Plus.

You may also qualify Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grant

If you qualify for it, this is a grant you don't need to pay back.

How you get paid will change

DWP pays UC monthly.

From your second payment, DWP will pay UC on the same day every month. This is unless you ask DWP to pay it twice a month.

It cannot be paid weekly, fortnightly or 4 weekly like the old benefits.

Paying UC twice a month is different from having it paid fortnightly. Contact DWP if you need them to explain this further.

UC is only paid into a bank, building society or credit union account.

More about UC

UC is managed and paid by DWP.

You can find out full details about UC on DWP website including:

  • who is eligible
  • how much you'll get
  • what you need to apply

Go to Universal Credit website

Contact

customerservices@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
0141 577 3001

Related information

Money Advice and Rights Team


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