The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a new Government website to help people understand what Universal Credit means for them.
The site helps people find out what benefits they should be claiming, and provides more detail about how Universal Credit (UC) can help them move into, or progress in, work. You can find the site here.
The Government's full Universal Credit service programme continues to be rolled out from May 2016 – September 2018. You can download the latest timetable from this government website.
The programme detailed above will be for new claims to benefits and some changes of circumstances only. When you notify The Department for Work and Pensions of any changes they will let you know if your existing claim will be stopped and you should make a claim to Universal Credit.
The migration of claimants receiving existing benefits begins in June 2019 with an estimated completion date of March 2022. As the programme becomes more detailed and we know which areas will move over and when, we will provide further updates on this website and in our other tenant communications, such as Update, the newsletter for Habinteg tenants.
See this video for an introduction to Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions:
If you are affected, you will need to prepare for some changes to the way you apply for and receive your benefits. Habinteg is here to help.
You don’t need to do anything if you’re already claiming any benefits - you’ll be told when Universal Credit will affect you. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has a handy survey which can help identify how well prepared you are for Universal Credit and how the changes might affect you.
How to make a claim for Universal Credit
To make your claim you will need to complete an online form and have a bank account for benefits to be paid into directly. To complete your application you will need to know the following details, so it helps to have everything in place:
- your postcode
- your National Insurance number
- details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
- your tenancy agreement
- your most recent rent statement (or you can check your rent online)
- details of your savings or other capital
- details of any income that’s not from work (e.g. from an insurance plan)
- details of any other benefits you’re getting
Your local Community Assistant will be able to help you with details of local services that provide internet access if you don’t have access to the internet at home. The online form must be completed in one go to be submitted, so make sure you have all your details to hand.
See this government video for an overview of Universal Credit full service:
Changes to paying your rent with Universal Credit
Under Universal Credit, your housing costs (i.e. your rent) will be paid once a month directly into your bank account, rather than direct to us. You can pay your rent in a variety of convenient ways (see below) but you will also need to budget and plan for paying your rent on time. You will need to set up these arrangements with Habinteg. Your Community Assistant, Housing Manager or Habinteg Direct will be able to help with managing your rent account under Universal Credit.
Our online rent account will help you to keep track of your rent payments – simply follow the registration instructions if you haven’t already signed up.
We’ll also be able to help with budgeting and pointing you towards other sources of advice and support. So let us know when you are contacted about your transfer to Universal Credit and we’ll help you prepare for the changes.
Difficulty paying your rent?
Take action as soon as possible if you are having problems paying your rent. You can talk to your community assistant, housing manager, phone Habinteg Direct, or seek independent help from:
- Citizens Advice Bureau – look in the Phone Book or on their website for your local branch
- National Debt Line – call 0808 808 4000
Still unsure about Universal Credit?
If you don’t know whether you’ll be affected, give us a ring on 0300 365 3100 or talk to your local member of staff.