The introduction of Universal Credit means most working age tenants will receive their housing costs along with their other benefits in one payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Pensioners and more vulnerable tenants will continue to see their housing costs paid directly to their landlord.

If you claim benefits and you think you may be affected by Universal Credit please look here.

Important changes in Scotland for tenants who claim Universal Credit or about to start a claim

From 4th October 2017 the Scottish Government made some important changes about when you receive your payments.

If you are a tenant in Scotland, read here

Post code checker for Universal Credit is here.

Latest changes - in Autumn 2017 the government announced the waiting time for claimants would reduce to five weeks. There is also a new freephone number you can use to call the Universal Credit government helpline (see below).

If you’re a parent

You may be affected if:

-     You are expecting your first baby - anyone starting a family after 6th April 2017 won’t get the family element in their tax credits or the eldest child element in their Universal Credit as these are being removed.

-      You are expecting your third child - if you’re expecting your third child and you claim child tax credits, you’ll not be able to claim the child element unless you have an exemption.

Your youngest child is two and you claim Universal Credit

If you’re claiming any benefits, once your youngest child turns two you’ll need to complete a Claimant Commitment showing how you’re preparing to look for work.

You are looking for work and your youngest child is three or over

Parents with a youngest child aged three, including lone parents, are expected to look for work if they want to claim Universal Credit. Previously, claimants didn’t have to look for work until their youngest child was five.

You work and don’t receive child tax credits

Parents who are in work and don’t receive child tax credits are entitled to tax free childcare. It’s a replacement for employer-supported childcare (childcare vouchers). The government will contribute up to 20% of the first £10,000 of registered childcare costs per child per year. This equates to a maximum of £2,000 per child per year.To qualify, parents will have to each earn at least £120 a week and no more than £100,000 each per year and not currently receiving help with childcare via tax credits.

If you claim Universal Credit and are working

You may be affected by the benefit cap:

-      Previously, if you were in work and claiming Universal Credit you were exempt from the benefit cap if you (and your partner) earned at least £430 per month.

-      This has changed from 1st April 2017, reflecting the changes the government has made to the national minimum/living wage rates.

  • If you are 18-20 years old you must earn at least £89 a week to be exempt.
  • If you are 21-24 years old you must earn at least £112 a week to be exempt.
  • If you are 25 or over you must earn at least £120 to be exempt.

-      It doesn’t matter how many hours you work to get this, it’s about how much you earn.

If you make a new claim for employment and support allowance (ESA)

You may be affected by changes:

-     New claimants who are placed in the work-related activity group will receive the same rate of benefit as those claiming jobseekers’ allowance because the work-related activity component is being abolished. This does not affect people placed in the support group.

-     The standard rate of employment and support allowance is £73.10 a week. Previously the top up was £29.05 a week; this top up has now stopped.                             

 

 

Paying your rent

 

If you are aged between18 to 21 this change may seriously affect your ability to afford your home. 

If you claim Universal Credit and you are assessed as not being eligible for the housing costs element, you will struggle to pay your rent in full and on time unless you get a job or source alternative income.

Failure to pay your rent in full and on time will place your tenancy at risk so please contact the customer service centre on 0345 141 4663 as soon as possible if you are experiencing difficulty paying your rent or claiming Universal Credit as we have trained advisors who can help you.  

To find out how to claim Universal Credit have a look here.

You can also check whether your area operates a UC full service.

Universal Credit Alternative Payment Arrangement APAs

There are many ways in which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are offering support and advice to Universal Credit Claimants.  If think you will struggle to pay your housing costs you could ask for an – Alternative Payment Arrangements. 

http://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/universal-Credit-Alternative-Payment-arrangements

Reporting changes on your claim

 

 

How you report changes affecting your Universal Credit claim, such as changing address or adding a child to your claim, will depend on which service you use.

In  full digital service areas you should use your Universal Credit online account to report changes by answering the questions on screen. The online service will also explain how to report changes you cannot report online at the moment.

In live service areas call the Universal Credit service centre helpline to report changes on the new freephone number:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344

 

 

 

 

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

 

 

 

 

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

 

How to claim Universal Credit

Other useful sites:

 

If you are having any difficulties paying your rent speak to us on live chat or call our customer service centre.