Welfare reforms mean more residents will claim Universal Credit in the years to come. This page explains what it is, how you can prepare for it and how we can help.
What is Universal Credit?
From 25 October 2017, many residents receiving a range of benefits will instead claim Universal Credit. This will affect claimants of working age living in Braintree district who need to make or change their claim for:
- Income Support
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
Universal Credit is currently paid monthly in two lump sums, one of which covers housing costs to pay your rent. This money isn’t paid directly to us as your landlord. Unlike Housing Benefit, it is usually paid to you rather than straight us as the landlord, so you must pay your rent out of this money.
Universal Credit applications are made online. Before any application is successful, you must ensure you:
- Verify who you are by following the guidance at www.gov.uk/verify
- Have an email address
- Have set up a bank or building society account where Universal Credit payments can be made
We urge residents to inform us when they have been enrolled on Universal Credit. Claims are made online at www.gov.uk and it can be up to 8 weeks before any money is received, so you may temporarily go into arrears with your rent payment.
It is likely you will get the same amount of money as you would have under the benefits listed above. However, it will look like more because the benefits, including help with your housing costs, are paid in a lump sum once a month.
We understand that circumstances can change and this may affect your financial situation. We aim to do all we can to help you through this. Please email our Income Team or call 01376 535400.
Greenfields offers support and advice for anyone wanting help to get online, plus free-to-use computers at our offices in Charter Way, Braintree (near Freeport). For more information, click on this link or email Digital Inclusion Co-ordinator Val Thompstone.
Independent debt advice is available through the Citizens Advice Bureau on 0344 499 4719 and the National Debt Line on 0808 808 4000.
How you will be affected by the changes will depend on your individual circumstances. For more information on Universal Credit, see our comprehensive guide in the Supporting Documents panel to the right.
The Department for Work & Pensions has produced a step-by-step guide to the entire Universal Credit process, which you can watch below. You can also ring the Government’s helpline on 0345 6000723.
What is a Community Gateway Association?
We give our residents the chance to be actively involved with Greenfields and have a say on how things are done. We provide additional opportunities and resources to our residents, beyond the development and maintenance of their homes. Click the button below to learn more.