Universal Credit - What is it?
Universal Credit is a monthly payment, for people of working age, who are out of work or working and on a low income. Universal Credit replaces the following 6 benefits:-
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based)
- Income Support
- Employment & Support Allowance (Income Related)
You must be aged 18 or over and under the qualifying age for Pension Credit (PC) in order to claim Universal Credit. Anyone making a new benefit claim, or updating a current claim, will be moved on to Universal Credit.
If you’re getting any of these benefits or tax credits, you do not need to do anything unless either:
- your circumstances change;
- you get a letter called a ‘Migration Notice’ telling you that you must claim Universal Credit.
As of August 2023, it has been announced that tax credits will be coming to an end. Look out for a letter called a Universal Credit Migration Notice from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) - this will explain what you’ll need to do, and by when.
If you are claiming tax credits and are aged 65 or over, DWP will write to you to ask you to apply for Universal Credit or Pension Credit, depending on your circumstances.
You won’t be moved automatically, so it’s important to act quickly and follow the instructions in the letter, otherwise your benefits will stop.
To continue to receive financial support, you will need to claim Universal Credit by the deadline stated in your Migration Notice letter, even if you have just renewed your tax credits claim.
Need advice or support? We will help you. Please get in touch with your housing officer on 0141 560 6000 if you have any questions.
How to Claim Universal Credit
You will need to apply and manage your Universal Credit claim online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
When claiming you will need to:
- Provide your bank account details. If you need support setting up a bank account, we can help.
- Have your email address and be able to go online - you will need to complete your application and update your journal online.
- Have proof of your rent so that your housing costs are included in your claim (this is your Housing Element and it replaces Housing Benefit).
If you need assistance with applying or managing you claim online please contact your Housing Officer as soon as possible. If you are unsure who your Housing Officer is please contact us on 0141 560 6000.
- It’s up to you to pay your rent. We can help you budget and set up a direct debit payment.
- If your circumstances change and you need to claim Universal Credit, do it quickly so your first payment isn’t delayed. We will help you make a claim and offer lots of support till your first payment comes in.
Paying Your Rent and Universal Credit
It is the responsibility of all tenants to ensure that rent is paid to ng homes and you can ensure that this happens on a regular and ongoing basis by setting up a direct debit to pay your rent.
In Scotland, all new claimants for Universal Credit can ask for their Housing Element (the sum that the DWP agrees to pay towards rent as part of your Universal Credit) to be paid directly from the DWP to ng homes. You can also discuss these options with your Work Coach at the Job Centre.
Universal Credit – Payment Frequency
Universal Credit is paid monthly into your bank account however all new claimants in Scotland are able to ask to receive smaller payments twice per calendar month instead of a single monthly payment. Please consider this if you feel that it would help you to manage your money more effectively.
You'll find this option in your online journal at the start of your second assessment period.
Remember – If you make a claim for Universal Credit it will normally take at least five to six weeks until your first payment is made. If this will cause you financial difficulties you will be able to request an advance payment up to the anticipated amount of your first payment. This will be in the form of an interest free sum repayable over a period of up to a year.
If you require any help, the Universal Credit Helpline is 0800 328 9344. Calls to this number are free of charge.