Benefits & Universal Credit Information

In 2013 the Government began replacing a number of benefits with ‘Universal Credit’.

Universal Credit replaces some benefits and only one claim needs to be made instead of lots of separate ones. If you are eligible you will receive a single payment at the end of each month that covers any benefit replaced by Universal Credit.

Universal Credit can only be applied for and managed online. If you apply for Universal Credit you will fill out an online form and then be given an online account that means you can manage your claim. This is because Universal Credit is handled by the Government and not your local council or Job Centre.

If you get state pension, please skip to the ‘If you get a state pension’ section below.

To find out more about Universal Credit, visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit or www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/universal-credit

Will Universal Credit affect me?

We’ve created a quick quiz for you to see if you are eligible for Universal Credit. If you get state pension, please skip to the ‘If you get a state pension’ section below.

Click on the image below for a larger version of our Quick Benefit Quiz.

You can also visit here to find out if Universal Credit will affect you and also how much money you might receive if eligible for benefits: www.entitledto.co.uk

What is the 'Benefit Cap'?

The ‘Benefit Cap’ is a limit on the total amount of benefit that most people, who don’t get a state pension, can get.

See the ‘Will Universal Credit affect me?’ section to find out if it will apply to you, or visit the following site for more information: www.gov.uk/benefit-cap 

What benefits will Universal Credit replace?

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Instead of receiving a payment for each of the above benefits separately, you will receive one payment at the end of the month. The payment will be made into a bank account and you will have to pay one month’s rent in advance before you receive your payment.

See the sections on ‘Rent & Universal Credit’ and ‘Setting up a bank account’ below for more info.

Rent & Universal Credit

Your universal credit payment will include all the money you can claim in benefits (that were replaced by Universal Credit), including your rent.

The first payment you receive will only cover the next month’s rent.

To pay the first month’s rent, you should start paying whatever you can afford towards this now. If you cannot afford to make any payments, you should look at what you can do whilst you wait for your first payment here: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/support-while-waiting-for-benefit-payments

Please visit our ‘Rent & Service Charges’ page for more information on all the different ways to pay your rent here: Rent & Service Charges

How do I claim Universal Credit?

You must claim Universal Credit online, here: www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Once you start the form you cannot go back to it as the form cannot be saved. You will need to complete the form online in one sitting so make sure you have all of the information with you before you fill in the form.

You will need the following information:

  • your National Insurance number (can be found on pay slips, P60, letters about tax, pensions and benefits or if you still cannot find it, visit here for what to do: www.gov.uk/lost-national-insurance-number )
  • an email address (to create an e-mail address if you do not already have one, visit login.live.com or accounts.google.com/signup to make a new, free email address that you can access wherever there is internet)
  • your phone number (this can be a landline or mobile number)
  • your address
  • Crown Simmon Housing’s address (find our address on the contact us page here: Contact Us)
  • the amount of rent that you are charged (check your last rent statement or check your rent account online at mytenancy.co.uk here: www.mytenancy.co.uk/cgi-bin/netacc.cgi/xxhome.htm )
  • your bank account details (if you do not have a bank account, see the ‘Setting up a bank account’ section below)
  • details of any savings that you have
  • details of any salary or income that you receive

I don't have a computer/internet at home/I have a computer/internet but might need more help

If you or someone you know needs to apply for Universal Credit but doesn’t have or knot how to use the internet or a computer then there are a lot of people and places willing to help.

Your local council may offer help through libraries or other projects – to find your local council click here (opens gov.uk site to find local council): gov.uk/find-local-councilOnce you have found your local (district or county) council, you can visit their website and search for the following (this should take you to results for the relevant pages): computersOnce you have search results there may be information under ‘libraries’ or similar if the answer does not appear immediately.

The services below offer help with gaining more confidence using computers and the internet:

  • UK Online Centres offer workshops and courses on how to use the internet and email, to find your nearest centre visit their website here: ukonlinecentres.com/index.php?
  • Go ON UK run workshops and courses on using computers and the internet, you can find out about if these are running in your area by visiting the Go ON Local site (opens local.go-on.co.uk site with post code search) here: local.go-on.co.uk/browse/events/
  • Your local library may be able to help you with general computer skills training. To find your local library please click here (you will be taken to a gov.uk site for local library services): gov.uk/local-library-services
  • The National Careers Service also provides information on gaining internationally recognised qualifications in IT for beginners to advanced users. Please click here to find out more about IT qualifications (opens a nationalcarrersservice.direct.gov.uk site): nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/courses/typesoflearning/Pages/computerskills.aspx
If you’re aged 50+ you may also be able to use Age UK services in your area, find out more about Age UK’s computer training courses by clicking here (you will be taken to an ageuk.org.uk page on computer training courses): ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/technology-and-internet/computer-training-courses/

Setting up a bank account

This website gives some helpful advice on setting up a bank account: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-to-open-switch-or-close-your-bank-account

If you do not already have a bank account, you can also try opening a Basic Bank Account.

To set-up a basic bank account:

You can also go to your local Credit Union, even if you have a record of fraud.

Get more info on basic bank accounts and credit unions here: www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/credit-unions or at your local CAB (find your local CAB here: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-we-provide-advice/advice/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice )

If you get a state pension

You might be able to claim ‘Pension Credit’.

Age UK has some great information on Pension Credit, including how to claim:

The government’s website also gives an overview to Pension Credit here: www.gov.uk/pension-credit

To find out more about Universal Credit, visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit or www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/universal-credit

What if I already claim benefits but I'm still struggling to make payments?

Visit entitledto.co.uk use their ‘benefits calculator’ to see if you can get other benefits here: www.entitledto.co.uk

entitledto.co.uk will tell you if you can get other benefits.

You may be able to use some benefits to help pay your bills (including rent, service charges, gas, electricity or water bills). You should contact your Jobcentre Plus with details of who you owe and how much, your customer reference number (for bills) and your National Insurance number.

You can find more information about this here: www.gov.uk/bills-benefits

You can also:

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