Universal Credit is a new monthly payment for working age claimants and replaces the following benefits and tax credits:
When you claim Universal Credit, you will be paid one monthly lump sum in arrears.
When will Universal Credit affect me?
Universal Credit is currently only available for new claims from single, childless people who would have normally claimed Jobseekers Allowance.
From November 2017: Couple and families making a new claim for one of the 6 benefits being replaced, will be able to claim Universal Credit.
Between 2019 and 2022: Tenants already claiming one of the 6 benefits being replaced will be automatically transferred onto Universal Credit.
By the end of 2022: Universal Credit will be fully in place and the 6 benefits being replaced will have been phased out.
You will be responsible for paying rent:
Once you have claimed Universal Credit, your Housing Benefit will no longer be paid to Kirklees Neighborhood Housing and your housing costs will be paid directly to you.
There are a number of things you need to consider when claiming Universal Credit. You need to have the right bank account, have regular access to the internet and be able to manage a monthly budget.
Make a claim for Universal Credit:
If you think you are eligible you can make a claim online by visiting the Government website (www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit)
Before you apply for Universal Credit, you’ll need to gather some information together. This will help make sure you only have to do the application once, and help you to get Universal Credit as quickly as possible if you’re eligible.
You'll need the following details for you and your partner:
•Your NI number - you can find this on a payslip or letter from HMRC - call the helpline on 0300 200 3500 (textphone 0300 200 3519) if you can’t find it
•Details of your bank, building society, credit union or Post Office card account (if you don’t have one of these, you'll need to open an account)
•The type of accommodation you have, eg private rent, council tenant, or housing association tenant - make sure you check this before you apply
•How much rent you pay - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one (your rent will change every year – please check that your tenancy agreement has the upto date figure or request a statement from your landlord)
•Your Landlord. If your tenancy is managed by Kirkless Neighbourhood Housing or Pinnacle your Landlord is Kirklees Council.
•Your landlord’s address - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one. If your tenancy is managed by Kirkless Neighbourhood Housing the address is KNH, Perseverance House, St Andrews Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6RZ
•Your landlord's phone number. If your tenancy is managed by Kirkless Neighbourhood Housing or Pinnacle your Landlord’s phone number is 01484 414886
•Your landlord’s email address. If your tenancy is managed by Kirkless Neighbourhood Housing or Pinnacle your Landlord’s email address is email@example.com
•Details of any savings you have and any other ‘capital’ investments, eg shares or property that you don’t live in
•Details of any income that’s not from work, eg from a pension or insurance plan
•Details of how much you earn from work, eg recent payslips
•How much you pay for childcare (if you want to claim for childcare costs)
•Details of any other benefits you’re getting, ie what benefit and how much you get
•Child benefit reference numbers for any children you have if you get child benefit - this can be found on letters to you about child benefit, it will start with 'CHB' and is made up of 8 numbers and 2 letters, eg CHB12345678 AB - phone the Child Benefit Office on 0300 200 3100 (textphone 0300 200 3103) if you need help
You’ll need evidence for all these details for when you go to your interview, so you’ll need to gather all the documents together, eg landlord agreement (or a letter from them with your rent amount on it), payslips, bank statements etc.
Which benefits will continue to be paid separately?
How You Can Prepare for Universal Credit
Universal Credit is paid in a single monthly payment in arrears and includes housing costs.
You will be responsible for paying your rent directly to Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing so it is vital to prepare in the following ways so you don't fall into rent arrears:
• Pay your rent by Direct Debit
• Have the right, building society or credit union account
• Manage your money
• Go online
Pay your rent by Direct Debit
This is the easiest way to pay because your bank or building society makes the payment for you. You won't have to queue to pay in the post office or local store. Find out more about Direct Debit.
Have the right bank or building society.
This is essential to be able to receive monthly Universal Credit payments and set up Direct Debits to pay your bills. The Post Office Card Account is not ideal for receiving Universal Credit because it doesn't offer services like Direct Debit and Standing Order and you can't have wages paid in.
Most high street banks offer basic bank accounts which do offer these services along with online banking which makes it even easier to manage your money.
If you claim Universal Credit with your partner, you will receive a single monthly payment for both of you. Therefore you may wish to have it paid into a joint account to allow both of you to access your money.
Manage your money
Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears and you will have to wait around 6 weeks for your first payment. It will be vital to save money beforehand to see you through this period.
After the initial 6 weeks you will need to budget on a monthly basis to pay for essentials like food and toiletries and also pay your essential bills such as rent, Council Tax and your utilities.
Most people will have to make their Universal Credit claim and keep it up to date online. You will need to regular access to the internet and have an email address. If you don't have the internet at home, you can get access for free at your nearest library.
Universal Credit - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is Universal Credit?
A. Universal credit aims to introduce greater fairness to the welfare system by making work pay. It will help ensure that people are better off in work than on befits. It is a new benefit for people who are on a low income or are out of work. It combines in work with out of work benefits, making it easier for you to start work and stay in work. It encourages independence while protecting the most vulnerable.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
Child benefit and disability benefits will continue to be paid separately.
Q. Who will get Universal Credit?
A. Universal credit is being introduced in stages. The roll out in Kirklees starts from 1st November 2017. There are some exceptions so you will need to check how this will affect you. More information is available at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
If you are aged 18-21 you are no longer automatically entitled to have your housing costs paid. For more information see our website www.knh.org.uk and look up the ‘Exemptions Diagram’ to see if you are still entitled.
If you live with someone as a couple and you are both entitled to claim Universal Credit, you will get one monthly joint payment paid into a single bank account.
Q. How is Universal Credit paid?
A. In most cases your Universal Credit will be paid monthly into your chosen account.
If you are claiming with a partner, a single payment will be made to cover you both. This will usually ne paid into a joint account to help you manage your money together. However, you can nominate an individual account if you prefer.
It can take upto 6 six weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment.
Q. What will I have to do in return for my Universal credit payment?
A. Universal credit creates a new agreement between you and the government. To receive Universal credit, you will need to accept a Claimant Commitment which sets out your responsibilities. You Claimant Commitment will depend on your person circumstances. For example, if you are able and available for work, you will need to do everything you reasonably can to find work. Preparing for and getting a job must be your full time focus.
Your work coach will focus on mentoring and coaching you, to help you meet the requirements recorded in your Claimant Commitment. They will support and Challenge you to fulfil your potential and help you to raise your expectations of what you can achieve.
You may get a cut in your Universal credit payment, known as a sanction, if you do not meet your responsibilities and cannot give a good reason to explain why.
If you claim Universal Credit as a couple both of you will need to accept and sign a Claimant Commitment. You will each have your own Claimant Commitment, and yours may be affected if your partner starts work or their circumstances change.
Q. What else do I need to know about Universal Credit?
A. You must make your claim online at www.gov.uk\apply-universal-credit
You will need to have a Bank/Building Society or Credit Union account to receive your payments.
You will need to manage your own money and make payments to your rent account. The best way to do this is to set up and pay by direct debit.
KNH can help you set up a direct debit, just call 01484 414886
A number of exceptions apply, for more information about Universal Credit go to