Universal Credit is a single monthly payment which is gradually replacing six income-related benefits and tax credits for new claimants.

Universal Credit will eventually replace the following benefits:

  • Housing Benefit

  • Income Support

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Working Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credit

Will Universal Credit affect me?

Universal Credit will not affect everybody straight away.

If you live in a 'full service area', you will not be able to make a new claim for one of the benefits being replaced (unless you have three or more children in most circumstances) and will have to claim Universal Credit instead.

There are other conditions, so please call us for advice.

The ‘full’ Universal Credit service is currently being rolled out across the North East and is due to be completed by December 2018.

More and more of us will be able to claim Universal Credit, and will not be able to claim one of the six benefits it replaces.

By the end of December 2018 Universal Credit will replace the big six income related benefits across the whole of our region for new claims and relevant changes in circumstances.

What’s different about Universal Credit?

  • You need to be online – You make your claim and check your payments and updates online
  • You need a to set up an account to receive your money – This can be a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as your local Credit Union or Post Office
  • You get a single monthly payment – You’ll need to manage your bills and costs for the whole month
  • You need to pay your rent or charges to Karbon Homes directly – Your payment will include any help you get towards rent and charges. You need to arrange payments to us directly. We suggest setting up a Direct Debit payment to us for the day your Universal Credit payment arrives in your account. That way you don’t need to remember to pay or worry about how much you have left for other things. Contact us for advice about setting up a Direct Debit payment.

Your Universal Credit payment may not be enough to cover your rent and charges. You will still need to pay the full amount due to us.

Frequently asked questions about Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit, entitlement to Housing Benefit will usually end, and your rent will no longer be paid directly to Karbon Homes on your behalf. Your Universal Credit payment should include a ‘housing costs element’ which will be the amount of help you are entitled to towards your rent. This may not cover the full rent you are liable to pay (you may receive less due to the ‘bedroom tax’, because of non-dependants who live with you, or for other reasons), and you will need to budget for any shortfall from your remaining Universal Credit award.

We recommend setting up a Direct Debit with Karbon Homes to ensure you don’t miss a payment and fall into rent arrears. Contact us for advice about setting up a Direct Debit payment. Universal Credit is usually paid direct to one member of a household, once a month, along with your housing costs. If, due to your personal circumstances, you will find it difficult to make your own arrangements to pay your rent on time, or if you think you will have difficulty budgeting, you can request an ‘Alternative Payment Arrangement’ including a direct payment of your housing costs to Karbon Homes, twice monthly payments, or a Universal Credit payment split between a couple.

You must have the following information to make your claim:

You have to make your claim online via the GOV.UK website. If you do not have access to a computer you can do this at the Job Centre. For help finding an internet access point, click here. You can find a video guide to making a claim here.

Personal

  • National Insurance Number
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number

Your housing information

  • Your address and who lives with you
  • Your weekly rent amount, and any eligible service charges paid as part of your rent (ask us about this if you are uncertain)
  • Karbon Homes’ address

Your financial information

  • Details of bank, building society or Post Office Account
  • Details of savings or capital
  • Details of any other income you may receive

It can take up to an hour to make your claim and you must have all of the above information ready to complete it.

Make sure you contact us before you make a claim. We can tell you what information you need as well as give you advice on managing the transition.

You will receive Universal Credit monthly, but won’t receive your first payment until approximately one month and seven days after your claim is made. You should then receive it on the same date every month.

So, after you apply for Universal Credit you will have to wait;

  • A calendar month before your claim is assessed 
  • AND up to seven more days before your first payment is made.

We can help

If you think you will struggle managing and budgeting your money, have physical or mental health problems that might prevent you paying your rent on time, or if you need help dealing with debt please contact one of our benefits and money advisors.

If you want to talk to us about what you’re entitled to, whether you’re going to be better off on Universal Credit, or any concerns you have, please call us for specialist advice.