Universal Credit is a new benefit introduced by the government in April 2013. Universal Credit aims to make the welfare benefits system simpler by bringing together the following six benefits into one:
- Income-based Job Seekers Allowance
- Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
As of 2 March 2015, the first group of people to be affected by Universal Credit in Barnet were single, new claimants who would have normally been eligible for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).
Universal Credit is being rolled out in stages across the country, the reason for this is so landlords, such as Barnet Homes, and tenants, such as you, can prepare for the changes. You will need to make and manage your Universal Credit claim online.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment paid in arrears (you will receive your first payment around five to six weeks after your initial claim). Your benefit will be paid directly to you; this includes the housing element (replacement for Housing Benefit) which means it is your responsibility to ensure your rent is paid on time and in full. There are a number of ways you can pay your rent which you can find out about here.
Your Universal Credit payment date will normally be the same day every month, although the amount you receive may be different. The payment you receive will depend on your circumstances the DWP are aware of during the assessment period which is why it is important you notify them of any changes to your circumstances.
Eventually anyone who receives any of the six ‘legacy’ benefits will be moved onto Universal Credit. There will be a few exceptions but your local Job Centre Plus office will tell you if this is the case.