What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit provides you with money to live on if you or your partner are of working age and are:
- unemployed and looking for work
- unable to work due to sickness or disability
- in work and on a low wage
The amount will depend on your age, the number of people living with you and the number of children in your household. Universal Credit also provides money towards your rent.
The Department for Work and Pensions pays Universal Credit, and it is delivered by local jobcentres.
Universal Credit does not provide help towards your Council Tax or school meals. You will still need to claim Council Tax Support and free school meals with Bury Council.
Should you be getting Universal Credit?
Universal Credit has been available in Bury since July 2014, but only a limited number of people have been eligible.
The Department for Work and Pensions stopped accepting new Universal Credit claims from people in Bury in December 2017 whilst they prepare a new version of the benefit. For most of the borough the new version will start in July 2018. If you live in the postcode M24 4 you will be able to claim from 16 May 2018. If you currently get Universal Credit your claim will continue throughout this period.
If you receive Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits or Housing Benefit you will eventually move over to Universal Credit. This is likely to be between 2019 and 2022. You will be told when this is going to happen.
Why is Universal Credit important?
Universal Credit brings together benefits and tax credits which used to be paid separately. This means you don't have to claim different benefits if you stop or start work. For many people it also covers their rent, so they don't have to make a separate Housing Benefit claim.
Combining different benefits means that you will receive all your Universal Credit in one payment. It will be up to you to use the money to pay your bills. In some cases it is possible to pay part of your Universal Credit directly to your landlord. Advice on how to budget your money is available.
Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears. This means you won't get any money for a month after you have claimed. If this will cause you problems it is possible to get an advance payment.
Claims are made online. You will need an email address and access to the internet. Also you will need to attend an interview at your local jobcentre. When your claim is in payment you will need to log in regularly to check your online Universal Credit account.
Universal Credit payments may be limited by the benefit cap.