Universal Credit is a benefit for working age people and is paid in a single monthly payment that replaces the following six benefits:
- Housing Benefit;
- Income Support;
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA);
- Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA);
- Working Tax Credits; and
- Child Tax Credits.
If you are making a new benefit claim, or a change to a current claim, you may have to claim Universal Credit.
Not everyone is required to claim Universal Credit and you may lose out financially if you claim when you don’t need to.
It is important you speak to an advisor to decide what is the correct choice for you.
There are important differences to Universal Credit you need to know about:
- it can take six weeks from when you first make a claim until you get your first payment;
- payments will be made once a month, on the same date every month;
- the money is paid directly to your bank account and will include your housing costs (rent). In Scotland the Scottish Government introduced Scottish Choices which allows you to request the rent element be paid directly to the landlord if you wish;
- you will be asked to sign a claimant commitment. If you don’t follow this, you can be sanctioned and lose some of your benefits;
- claims are made online. Once completed you will be given an online journal. You manage your own account online and use it to report changes, get support and to send messages to your work coach; and
- if you are unable to make an online claim you can make a claim via the telephone helpline or use the Department of Work and Pension’s help to claim service.
For details of how to claim or to make a claim please click go to https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim
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