The Government’s plan is to have all claimants moved to Universal Credit. Universal Credit is the new benefit for working age people that is replacing six other Social Security benefits. Universal Credit is designed to simplify the benefits system by having one working age benefit to replace six others. It will eventually replace Jobseeker’s Allowance (Income Based), Employment and Support Allowance (Income Related), Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Housing Benefit. It is believed Universal Credit will encourage claimants to be more independent in managing their finances and so become more ‘work ready’.
The introduction of Universal Credit is being phased in throughout the UK with Glasgow being affected for the first time from Monday 8 June 2015.
From 8th June 2015 tenants who are single with no children, and who would normally have claimed Jobseekers Allowance when they became unemployed, should make a claim for Universal Credit.
The DWP aims to continue this phased roll out of Universal Credit to couples in early 2016 and families in May 2016.
Full roll out to all working age claimants is expected to be completed by 2019.
The Association has been keeping a close eye on the position with Universal Credit implementation dates and we will provide updates on this page of our website when appropriate.
Our tenants will be expected to make and manage Universal Credit claims online. After the online application has been submitted, tenants will be asked to attend a face to face interview with a Job Centre Plus work coach who will assess their personal situation, readiness for work and ability to manage their own finances. Tenants will then be asked to agree to and sign a ‘Claimant Commitment’ that lays out their commitment to preparing for or finding work. Failure to comply with the Claimant Commitment could lead to a reduction in the Universal Credit payment.
The payment of Universal Credit differs in key ways from previous benefit payments.
Firstly, UC is a single payment paid monthly in arrears into a bank or similar type account, but not a Post Office account.
Secondly, housing costs currently covered by Housing Benefit are included in the Universal Credit payment rather than being paid directly to the landlord. Many tenants may struggle with the new UC system and the new responsibilities for managing money it places on them. If this does happen and claimants get into rent arrears, Jobcentre Plus may provide an Alternative Payment Arrangement, but this is intended as a short term measure while claimants are supported to manage their finances.
Under Universal Credit all benefits including Housing Benefit which will be called 'housing element' will be wrapped up into one single monthly payment and paid into the tenant's bank account. The main change here is that most tenants (those who are deemed as being vulnerable may) will no longer have the option to have housing benefit paid to their landlord!
Those in receipt of housing benefit will therefore need to: -
If you think you will need help to manage either or both of the above then please do not hesitate to contact one of the team from Housing Management.
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