Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. Full service was gradually rolled out across the country. It was introduced in West Suffolk between October 2017 and December 2018.
Universal Credit replaces:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
From October 2017, Universal Credit Full Service was rolled out to the St Edmundsbury area. It applies to the following postcodes:
|Bury St Edmunds
From 12 December 2018, Universal Credit Full Service was rolled out to the Forest Heath area.
What can I get?
What you can get will depend on your circumstances. The calculation starts with the standard allowance and additional elements are added on, for example if you have children and need childcare or if you also need money to help with your housing costs, this will be paid with your single monthly Universal Credit payment, unlike Housing Benefit. You can find out more at: GOV.UK - Universal Credit guides
People living in supported housing may still be able to apply for Housing Benefit. The rules regarding this are complex and if you are living in supported housing, please speak to your landlord, or contact us.
Some families, including those with more than two children, living in Universal Credit Full Service sites will still be able claim benefits including Housing Benefit.
Help towards your council tax, called Council Tax Reduction is still awarded by the council. You will need to make an application alongside your application for Universal Credit. Visit Anglia Revenues Partnership - What is Council Tax Reduction to find out more and apply.
With Universal Credit, there are no limits to the number of hours that you can work. Your credit payment will reduce gradually as your own earnings increase so you won't lose all your benefits at once if you are on a low income.
- GOV.UK - Guidance explaining the rules for housing costs for 18 to 21 year olds getting Universal Credit
How is it paid?
Universal Credit is paid into your bank or building society account each month. It is a single monthly payment which means it is your responsibility to budget your expenses such as rent. You will need a bank, building society or or credit union account.
- Money Advice Service - basic banks accounts
- Use the GOV.UK - benefits calculator to find out if you’re eligible for Universal Credit and how much you could get.
To find out if there are changes you need to make to prepare for Universal Credit visit Money Advice Service - How will Universal Credit affect me?
How do I apply?
You can only apply online for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit claims are assessed using a real time information system which tracks your earnings through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system. This means your monthly payment will be amended to top up your benefit should your earnings drop. You are now able to consider working on a varied hours contract, safe in the knowledge this will not create complex in and out of benefit situations.
Universal Credit applicants can benefit from a free financial health check. We have enlisted the help of local Citizens Advice to help you #makeyourmoneygofurther. Simply discuss making your money go further with your work coach, who is based in your local jobcentre, and you will be given a free and confidential meeting with the local Citizens Advice to review your household income and bills.
Universal Credit accounts will be available to view online similar to online banking. You will be able to make changes to your circumstance in real time and check payments and awards as and when you can, rather than having to phone or make an appointment with your work coach.
More information about Universal Credit, budgeting and finding work
- Understanding Universal Credit - DWP
- Citizens advice - Universal Credit
- Citizens Advice - Apply for Universal Credit
- GOV.UK - Universal credit
- Universal Credit YouTube video
- Money Advice Service - Universal Credit also offers useful information and have developed a Money manager online tool to provide advice
- press the red button on your TV remote control
- on Sky go to channel 539 and press the red button to visit the 'looking local' channel
- on Virgin go to channel 233 and press the red button, or on the remote control chose (or you can choose 'home/interactive/sports/news and info/looking local')
- access 'looking local' from your internet capable games console - go to Looking Local
- access 'looking local' on Facebook
- The Department for Work and Pensions have set up a Daily Job Seeker website which provides advice and tips about finding and applying for jobs. It offers practical help about how to create a CV and offers advice directly from employers and recruiters. It also includes information about Universal Credit and the ways it can help people get back to work.
Universal Credit information for landlords
The Department for Work and Pensions has created guides to help landlords understand how Universal Credit will effect them and what safeguards are in place: Universal Credit and rented housing - guides for landlords
The Money Advice Service also has information for landlords, visit their website at: Money Advice Service - Universal Credit - Information for landlords