Full Service - Universal Credit Guide.

What is Universal Credit (UC)?

Universal Credit is a new social security benefit for people of working age who are in or out of work. Universal Credit combines means tested support for adults, children & housing costs into one payment.

Any new claim for means tested benefit from 5th December 2018, will be a claim for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will replace the following benefits from 5th December 2018.

  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working tax credits.
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment & Support Allowance.

If you currently receive any of these benefits, you can’t claim Universal Credit at the same time.

You may be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You can find out more about Universal Credit by visiting https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

Will I be put on Universal Credit (UC) automatically?

If you are eligible for Universal Credit Payments & currently receiving one of the following benefits you will be invited to your local Job Centre Plus to make a claim for Universal Credit at some point in the future. 

  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working tax credits.
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment & Support Allowance

Please note DWP have not issued any timescales to migrate existing benefit claimants to Universal credit. If you receive a letter inviting you to apply for Universal credit, please do not ignore the letter or your benefits may stop.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

Do I need a bank account to be paid Universal Credit (UC)?

To receive Universal Credit payments you will need a bank account or credit union account. 

If you do not have a bank account or credit union account, you will need to open an account.

Many banks offer fee free basic bank accounts.

Basic bank accounts are available even if you have poor credit history or have an undischarged bankruptcy.

Universal Credit cannot be paid into a Post Office account.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

When does Universal Credit (UC) start in my area?

Full Service Universal Credit will start on 5th December 2018; this means any new claims to means tested benefit will be a claim for Universal Credit.

Existing claimants of means tested benefits will not be affected until they are invited to make a claim for Universal Credit in the future.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

How do I make a claim to Universal Credit from the 5th of December 2018?

Claims for Universal Credit can only be made online at:

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim

There is help available within the online claim form for people who need extra support. Contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you:

  • need help finding or using a computer to make a claim
  • have questions about applying
  • need information in alternative formats (for example braille or large print)

You can watch a short video on how to make a claim here:

Making a claim to Universal Credit

(Department of working Pensions Video Guide)

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

I don’t have access to the internet, what do I do?

To create or access your Universal Credit online account you will need access to the internet. If you do not have access to the internet you can access gain access by:

  • Visiting your local Job Centre Plus office, your local Job Centre Plus office offers access to Wi-Fi, this means you can connect your smart phone or tablet to the internet at the Job Centre office.
  • If you do not have access to a smart phone, tablet, laptop or PC, your local Job Centre Plus & local library have computers that can be accessed by members of the public to manage online claims.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

What identification do I need to complete a claim & how do I verify who I am?

When you have submitted your online claim for Universal Credit you will be asked to prove your identity. The quickest & most secure way to prove your identity is to use the GOV.UK Verify system. You will be guided through this process using your online Universal Credit account.

You can watch a short video about Gov.UK Verify below.

Please watch the DWP video - Proving your identify with GOV.UK Verify.

Alternatively you can confirm your identity in person by attending an appointment at your local Jobcentre Plus.

You will need to provide 2 documents of ID that may include.

  • A Birth Certificate
  • A Council Tax Statement
  • An NHS medical Card
  • A Recent bank or Building Society statement
  • Debit or charge card.
  • A Passport or an Expired passport.
  • Full UK Driving license or Provisional Licence (Even if expired)
  • Local Authority Rent card
  • Marriage or Civil Partnership Certificate
  • Tenancy Agreement.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

When do I get my Universal Credit (UC) payments?

Universal Credit is paid monthly; you will receive your first payment 5 weeks after you complete your claim. Universal Credit ispaid monthly in arrears and is calculated over your assessment period.

For example If a claim is made & submitted on the 12th of December, the assessment period will be from the 12th of December to 11th January, DWP will check the circumstances & calculate a payment based on the previous calendar month assessment period.

A payment will then be made 7 days later; this means if a claim is assessed from the 12th December to 11th January, a payment will be made on the 18th of January.

Scottish claimants who make a new claim during full service can choose to have their payment paid twice monthly, this is known as Scottish Choices or as Scottish flexibilities.

After your first assessment period, you will receive two offers via your Universal Credit Journal,

Offer 1 – You will be offered your Universal Credit payment twice monthly.

Offer 2 – You will be offered to have your housing costs paid directly to your landlord.

If you change your mind you can request to be changed back to a single monthly payment at any time using your online journal.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

How do I manage 5 weeks with no income while waiting on my first Universal Credit (UC) Payment?

During your first month of claiming Universal Credit you can apply for an Advance payment to help cover your essential costs like food, electricity & gas. 

You can apply for advance using your online account or by speaking to your work coach at the Job Centre.

Advance payments can be given for up to 100% of your estimated entitlement, advance payments need to be paid back and deductions will be made from your Universal Credit account.

The advance payment is interest free but must be paid back within 12 months.

For Example if your Universal Credit payment is estimated at £317.82 and you take a 100% advance payment. You will have to pay back £26.48 every time month for12 months.

You do not have to apply for an advance if you do not want too.

Please note if you have housing costs, these will be included in your advance payment; housing costs should be paid to your landlord in order to avoid rent arrears.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

How much is my rent charge?

You can find out how much your rent is by asking your Landlord, details of any rent charge are normally found on your tenancy agreement or on any rent increase notice you received in April.

Please be aware that it is your responsibility to tell DWP how much rent you pay and to notify them of changes.

If you need proof of your rent charge, speak to your Landlord.

If you need to report a change in circumstances this can be done using your online Universal Credit Journal.

If you require advise on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

Can I get my rent paid directly to Wellhouse Housing Association?

Scottish claimants who make a new claim during full service can choose to have their housing costs payment paid directly to the landlord. This is known as Scottish Choices or as Scottish flexibilities

After your first assessment period, you will receive two offers via your Universal Credit Journal,

Offer 1 – You will be offered your Universal Credit payment twice monthly.

Offer 2 – You will be offered to have your housing costs paid directly to your landlord.

If you change your mind you can request to be changed back to a single monthly payment at any time using your online journal.

Some people may prefer to have payments made directly to the landlord to make sure their rent is always paid on time.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

How do I manage my account online?

You can manage your account online by logging in with your secure details on the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit

You may find it useful to watch some helpful videos from DWP’s YouTube channel on the link below. Helpful videos to help you manage your Universal Credit account.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884.

What is a claimant commitment?

When you make a claim for Universal Credit you will need to agree a tailored commitment with DWP.  This is known as a claimant commitment.

Your Job Coach will agree with you any responsibilities you may have and any actions you must complete in order to receive your benefit.  Your job coach should take your personal circumstances and health into account. Your Job Coach will review and update your commitment as appropriate. Each time it is updated, you will need to accept a new Commitment to keep receiving Universal Credit.  Your claimant commitment will be updated monthly.

You must only accept your claimant commitment if you agreed with it, if you do not agreed with it speak to your job coach.

If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, both of you will need to accept an individual Commitment.

Examples of things you may be asked to do as part of your claimant commitment.

  • Create a CV.
  • Attend an ICT skills course.
  • Update your journal every day.

If you fail to meet one or more of your responsibilities, you may receive a sanction; this means your benefit will be reduced.

If you have good reason for not complying with your claimant commitment, you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration within 4 weeks of the date the sanction was applied. Sometimes late mandatory reconsideration can be accepted if you have good cause for not requesting one sooner.

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884

What is the ‘To Do’ list on my online UC account?

When you make a claim to Universal Credit you will be required to manage your claim online.

When you login into your online journal using your username and password you will have access to your “To Do List”

Your to do list may have actions that you must complete that have been set by your job coach.

This may include things like:

  • Create a CV.
  • Search for jobs in catering.

You may find it useful to watch some helpful videos from DWP’s YouTube channel on the link below.

Your home page and statement (Universal Credit full service)

If you require advise on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884

What if my circumstances change?

If your circumstances change you must notify DWP as soon as you can, it is your responsibility to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes that could affect your entitlement to benefit.

For example if your rent increases, you must notify DWP using your online journal.

When you login into your online journal using your username and password you will have access to a tab labelled “Report a change of circumstances.”

You may find it useful to watch some helpful videos from DWP’s YouTube channel on the link below.

Your home page and statement (Universal Credit full service)

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884

Do I make a separate claim from my partner?

To make a claim to Universal Credit as a couple, both partners will have to set up a Universal Credit account with separate user names and passwords. The accounts will then be joined together using a partner code.

The first partner making a Universal Credit account will be asked if they have a partner, they should choose “Yes” and a partner code will be given.

When the accounts are joined you will be able to see outstanding tasks for both you and your partner, you may be able to complete each other’s tasks where appropriate.

Please note payments will only be made to one partner.

Should your circumstances change and you and your partner become single, your accounts will be separated when you report a change in circumstances.

You may find it useful to watch some helpful videos from DWP’s YouTube channel on the link below.

How to make a claim (Universal Credit full service)

If you require advice on how Universal Credit may affect you, please make an appointment with our Income Advisor on 0141 781 1884