Universal Credit is a new type of benefit which replaces Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit. These are our top tips for being organised and making sure that your claim for Universal Credit goes as smoothly as possible.
Accept Your Claimant Commitment
When you make your claim for Universal Credit you must accept your claimant commitment online within 7 days otherwise your claim with be closed and you will need to start your claim again. Tip – logging into your online journal daily is the best way to prevent you missing any messages or to-do’s from your work coach.
Pay Your Rent
Universal Credit includes money for all your daily living costs and your rent. You MUST pay your rent yourself from this payment each month otherwise your home will be at risk. If you need support with budgeting and managing your rent payments please complete our benefit and budgeting calculator– click ‘send to advisor’ and a Tenancy Sustainment Advisor will get in touch with you.
You might find it easiest to set up a Direct Debit so that your rent payment is automatically made. Contact us today to set this up.
Be Aware – getting help via the Citizens Advice ‘Help to Claim’ scheme will not treat your first contact date as your claim start date for Universal Credit
Unlike other benefits, if you seek help through the ‘Help to Claim’ scheme to claim Universal Credit, the date you speak to an advisor and explain your intention to claim will not be used as your date of claim. Bear in mind that if you make an enquiry this can delay your claim.
If you need advice to claim Universal Credit and require some extra support, please get in touch with us so we can provide you with the right guidance and prevent any delays or loss of benefit.
Changes in Your Circumstances
Once you are claiming Universal Credit you are required to maintain your claimant commitment to find work, increase your hours and/or engage in work related activities with your Work Coach. This is called conditionality and if you do not complete it you may face a sanction of your payments. However, life is not always that predictable and it can become difficult, if not impossible to do so sometimes.
If you are unable to carry out your claimant commitment due to a change in circumstances, please let your Work Coach know as soon as possible so they can temporarily amend your agreed duties. Remember- you must re-accept your new commitment on your journal when any changes are made.
Are you struggling to make ends meet?
Please contact us straight away if you have money problems. Once we know that there is an issue we can often help by checking that you are receiving all of the correct benefits, working out the best way of paying your rent and putting you in contact with our partners who are able to provide a range of help.
Rent is important, as the rent payments we receive fund the vital services we deliver to our customers, including repairs, home improvements and support for your communities. This is why it’s so important that your rent is paid regularly and on time and that it is the first payment you make when budgeting your money and paying your bills