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There are other major changes that may affect you if you are of working age and currently claiming benefits. The biggest is the introduction of Universal Credit. From October 2013 onwards, people making new claims for benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, will receive one 4 weekly payment to cover all of these benefits, and you will have to arrange for your rent to be paid out of this one payment because landlords will no longer receive housing benefit direct from the Local Authority.
We realise that this is a huge change for most people, and some may struggle to prioritise essential payments such as rent and may be worried about rent arrears. If this is the case, we have a number of people you could talk to, including your housing officer or our Money Advice Service, who will be able to talk through a number of options with you, including the setting up of a Direct Debit or even a Basic Bank Account if you don’t already have one.
Please note that existing claimants will move onto Universal Credit as their circumstances change, and all claimants are expected to be on the new benefit by 2017.