Universal Credit is a new type of benefit for people looking for work or who have a low income.
Universal Credit is a new type of benefit for people looking for work or who have a low income. Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and replaces the following benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income Support
- Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Child and Working Tax Credits
Universal Credit will be paid in one lump monthly payment, so represents a change in how benefit claimants will need to manage their household budget.
- Help to pay for rent (the equivalent of Housing Benefit) will be paid directly to you as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. It will not be paid directly to us so it will be your responsibility to pay the whole rent from your benefit.
- Applications will have to be made online and you will need to have an email address.
- You will need to have a bank account, post office account or credit union account
Who will be affected?
Whether you can claim depends on where you live and what your circumstances are.
Currently in all areas where our customers currently live you can only claim Universal Credit if you are single without responsibility for children, aged between 18 and 60 and are looking for work, among some other restrictions.
However, from 3 May 2017 those living in the areas listed below who need to make a NEW claim for any of the benefits listed above will have to claim Universal Credit instead. This affects the following towns and villages where our customers live:
The government currently plans to include places linked to the following Jobcentres at the dates stated (subject to change):
- Rushden – February 2018
- Dunstable and Luton – July 2018
- Biggleswade – August 2018
- Milton Keynes – September 2018
People who already claim the benefits listed at the top of the page will not need to claim Universal Credit unless their circumstances change. The government plans to move people claiming those benefits over to Universal Credit at a later date.
Note the only exception to the above is for people with three or more children in a FULL service area. These people will still need to claim the benefits listed at the top of the page INSTEAD of Universal Credit until November 2018.
For further advice on this please contact our Customer Services Team on 0300 123 5544 and ask for our Benefits Advice team or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To claim, either go to the gov.uk website or ask us for help.
How can we help?
We can help you with:-
- confirming whether you should be able to claim
- making a claim online for Universal Credit and assisting with any future queries
- checking whether you are entitled to any other benefits and helping you make a claim
- setting up a direct debit to pay your rent
- setting out a personal budget plan
- managing your debts through our Money Advice service
- referring you to prepare or update a CV and register for Universal Jobmatch
- help you set up an email address and with IT skills
A Credit Union account can help you to manage your household budget if you think you will struggle to manage monthly payments, including your rent.
We have links with Bedford Credit Union. For more information see our Credit Union page.