As a result of the recent Budget announcements, please note the following changes that have been proposed:
- The seven waiting days are to be abolished from February 2018, meaning entitlement starts from day one for all UC claimants and wait times for payment will lessen by a week as a result.
- From January 2018 Advance Payments of up to 100% monthly entitlement can be requested instead of 50% and they are repayable over up to 12 months instead of six
- Those who had an advance payment in December 2017 can top it up to 100% in January if they do it before their first payment
- From April 2018, if transferring from Housing Benefit to UC, claimants will continue to receive Housing Benefit for another two weeks.
- Rollout next year to be spread to December 2018 instead of October 2018, which for us means that some of our areas may be put back a bit before it is rolled out completely.
- The UC Live Service will be abandoned in effect from the end of December 2017. Existing Live Service claimants will continue on Universal Credit but any new claimants from the beginning of next year will need to claim Housing Benefit and Tax Credits etc.
- Families with three or more children who would otherwise need to claim Universal Credit will not be able to do so until at least February 2019 now (previously it was up to November 2018). These families will need to claim existing benefits instead (e.g. Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, JSA, Income Support or ESA).
- The DWP has introduced Freephone numbers for Universal Credit: If you live in a full service area (i.e. if you have an online Universal Credit account), you should ring 0800 328 5644. If you live in a live service area (i.e. you are notified in writing about your entitlement), you should ring 0800 328 9344.
The government currently plans to include places linked to the following Jobcentres at the dates stated (subject to change):
- Rushden: May 2018
- Kettering: October 2018
- Luton: October 2018
- Biggleswade: November 2018
- Northampton: November 2018
- Wellingborough: November 2018
- Milton Keynes: December 2018
For more information and advice about UC, please click here.