Universal Credit is a means tested benefit for working age people. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) administers Universal Credit, which replaces the following 6 benefits:
From 20 June 2018, the DWP will start introducing Universal Credit for large parts of Westminster. This means anyone needing to make a new claim for one of the 6 benefits listed above will instead have to apply for Universal Credit.
There are exceptions when Universal Credit will not be available. Households who qualify for the severe disability premium will carry on claiming the benefits that Universal Credit is replacing for the time being. There is also no change for pensioners because Universal Credit is a benefit for people of working age only.
The change means that if you pay rent you will claim the housing element of Universal Credit from DWP instead of Housing Benefit from the council. There are 2 exceptions to this. Tenants of supported housing and temporary accommodation provided because of homelessness will claim Universal Credit from DWP for their living cost and Housing Benefit from the council for their rent.
The roll out of Universal Credit will be gradual depending on the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with the postcode where you live. The timetable for when making a new claim will mean a claim for Universal Credit is:
|Jobcentre Plus office||Postcodes||When|
|Fulham||SW3, SW7||Already in place|
|City Tower||EC4||Already in place|
|Marylebone||NW1, NW8, SW1, W1, WC2, W2, W9 1 and W9 2||20 June 2018|
|Barnsbury||WC1||20 June 2018|
|Harlesden||NW6, W9 3||November 2018|
|North Kensington||W10, W11||December 2018|
If you are receiving one of the 6 benefits listed above and your circumstances have not changed, Universal Credit will generally not affect you for the time being. In July 2019, DWP will start piloting the process of moving people who do not have changes on to Universal Credit. The process is not expected to affect Westminster residents until the Autumn of 2020 and DWP expect it will take until the end of 2023 to transfer everyone of working age on to Universal Credit.
DWP administers Universal Credit and their website provides detailed information about how Universal Credit is claimed, decided and awarded. But here is a summary of some of the key features of Universal Credit:
Although the DWP deal with Universal Credit, the council is assisting with the implementation. The council will also carry on dealing with Council Tax Support and Discretionary Housing Payment applications and awards.
Your local Jobcentre Plus office will help you with claiming online. Help to claim is also available from the council at the 2 Housing Benefit offices below from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Computers are available for you to use at these offices and there are members of staff on hand to help you.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment to provide help with living costs and rent. Westminster Citizens Advice can provide money advice if you need help budgeting for all your outgoings from a single monthly payment. Ask Jobcentre Plus to refer your details if you would like help from Westminster Citizens Advice.
If you transfer from Housing Benefit to Universal Credit, the Council will award you Housing Benefit for the first 2 weeks of the period Universal Credit covers. This is to give extra help with rent because it takes 5 weeks to award Universal Credit.
To receive help with paying your Council Tax you will need to claim Council Tax Support from the council. Find out more information about Council Tax Support.
When either the housing element of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit is less than the rent you have to pay, you can claim Discretionary Housing Payment from the Council. Find out more information about Discretionary Housing Payment.
Universal Credit makes it easier for people to move from benefits into work. We have coaches trained to support people into employment. Find out more information about our service or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 0207 641 3460.