Universal Credit Advice
Universal Credit (UC) will bring about changes to how people of working age benefits are paid.
UC replaces a number of benefits including Housing Benefit with one single monthly payment for your household.
If you and your partner are eligible for UC, you will receive one payment rather than two.
UC will be paid straight to you. This means that you will become responsible for paying your rent on time.You can however request your Housing Costs are paid direct to your landlord.
Who can claim Universal Credit?
If you are of working age and making have to make a new claim for any benefit it is likely that you will have to claim Universal Credit. Universal Credit is replacing most working age benefits by 2023, if you are already on benefits you will remain on these until the DWP tells you to move onto Universal Credit. However, you may move on sooner if you have a change in circumstances.
Who are currently excluded from UC
There are some groups who are unable to claim UC and who can still claim JSA, ESA, Income Support, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit. These groups are;
• People over pension age (in the case of a couple, one member of the couple has to be over pension age)
• People with responsibility for 3 or more children
• People who currently or within the last month, have been eligible for a Severe Disability Premium in their ESA, JSA, Income Support or Housing Benefit
A lot of people don’t know if they are receiving the Severe Disability Premium, if you are unsure, contact our Welfare Benefits Officer Alan Graham on 0141 583 4123 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Alan will give you advice on whether you should claim UC or not.
How will UC be paid to you?
UC is paid monthly into your bank account so you will need a bank account to receive your UC payments.
If you do not have a bank account you can find out more from the Money Advice Service about choosing a bank account for your UC payment. We have also put together details of local banks.
Don’t worry, if you don’t have identification to open a bank account, documents such as your tenancy agreement can be used as identification to open a bank account. Just contact us on 0141 889 7105 (select option 5) and we will help you with this.
Your first payment of Universal Credit
You will have to wait for 5 weeks for your first payment of Universal Credit, if you need money straight away there are a number of options available to you;
1. You can apply for an Advance Payment of your UC. This is repaid over 12 months from your future UC payments. As you have to repay this, we would encourage you to only take what you need to manage for your first 5 weeks.
If you take the full advance payment available to you, this will include money for your rent and we will expect you to pay your rent from this.
2. You can apply for a Crisis Grant from Renfrewshire Council. You can do this by telephoning 0300 300 0204 (select option 2) When applying for a crisis grant you can apply for money to help with food, gas and electricity.
You do not have to repay a crisis grant.
3. We can provide you with a foodbank voucher so that you can access the local foodbank.
Scottish Choices for Universal Credit Payment
In Scotland you can choose the following variations on your UC payments;
Payment of Housing Costs direct to your landlord
You can request this after you have received your first payment of UC. To arrange this you need to go on to your UC journal and submit a request. Please let us know if you request this.
Twice monthly payments of UC
Although UC is generally paid monthly, you can request that your UC payment is split into 2 payments to you each month.
This means instead of getting your full month’s payment when its due, you will receive half of it and then receive the 2nd half two weeks later.
What do you need to manage your UC claim?
• You need to have access to the internet
• You need to have an email address
Access to the internet
You will have to make and manage your claim online
If you feel you need help to make your claim on line or to navigate your journal once your claim is made you can contact us for support.
UC claims have to be made and managed online. This means you need access to the internet.
Don’t worry if you don’t have access to the internet at home or via a smartphone, there are a large number of public places in Renfrewshire you can access the internet from.
You can use a computer at a local library. To do this you need to book a slot which you can do online. To do this telephone 0300 300 118 (you will need your library card number to book and log on to a library computer)