What is Universal Credit?
- Universal Credit is a means tested benefit for people of a working age with a low income.
- It will replace six existing benefits – including Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit – with a single monthly payment.
- Universal Credit is broken down into different elements depending on your circumstances.
- The ‘personal element’ is money that covers your living costs and your children’s living costs.
- The ‘housing element’ is money that covers your rent.
- If you make a new claim for benefits, or there is a change in your existing means-tested social security benefits or tax credits, you will have to go on to the new online portal for benefits.
How will these changes affect you?
If you have been getting Housing Benefit that is paid directly to Calico, this will no longer happen once Universal Credit is introduced. Instead, the monthly Universal Credit payment will include your rent, and you will have to make arrangements to pay this yourself.
There are a number of ways to pay your rent – the easiest way is to set up a monthly Direct Debit through your bank. You can speak to our Income Management team, who will help you set up a Direct Debit and discuss alternative ways to make
payments, if required.
How to prepare for Universal Credit
A = ACCOUNT
Get a bank account if you don’t have one.
It is very important that you have a bank account to ensure you are able to receive your Universal Credit payments. A bank account is also essential if you are going to pay your rent by Direct Debit or Standing Order.
B = BUDGET AND GET AHEAD
Plan for Universal Credit now to avoid problems in the future.
Using a budgeting plan (see over the page) now will help you to prepare for when you move across to monthly Universal Credit payments. This can also help you identify which of your debts are priority and which aren’t, and can highlight any areas where you could save yourself money.
We recommend that you try to get ahead with payments to your rent account, even if you currently receive full Housing Benefit. Paying as little as £2 per week to prepare for Universal Credit will help to reduce the amount of arrears on your account whilst you wait for your claim to come into payment.
If you currently receive Council Tax Benefi t, you will also need to call into your local Council offices and complete a form for Council Tax Support to be paid alongside Universal Credit, as this will not be included in your monthly housing element.
C = CALL
Get in touch if you need support.
Please contact our Income Management team on 01282 686300 to find our more about your options whilst you wait for your claim to come into payment.
Other things to consider
- You will need to have a valid email address. If you don’t have one, you can sign up with Live or Google.
- If you’re using your mobile, download a PDF converter from your phone’s App Store. This will allow you to take a picture of any supporting documents and upload them easily to the online portal.