What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit replaces a number of benefits with one single monthly payment for your whole household. This includes your housing costs (which was previously Housing Benefit).
For Gateshead residents, Live Service Universal Credit arrived in Gateshead in June 2015. The majority of Live Service claims are single people with no dependent children living with them.
From October 2017 Gateshead will become a Full Service Universal Credit area. Full Service will include couples and families (although there are some exceptions).
From October, if you claim any of the benefits below, you are likely to become a Universal Credit claimant.
What benefits does Universal Credit replace?
Universal Credit will replace the following payments:
• Housing Benefit
• Income Support
• Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance
• Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
• Child Tax Credit
• Working Tax Credit
If you previously claimed Housing Benefit, this would have been paid directly to us, with the remaining rent charge (for example water rates) being paid by you.
This will change with Universal Credit. Housing Benefit will no longer be paid directly to us and instead ‘Housing Costs’ will be paid directly to you.
This means that you will be responsible for paying your whole rent charge in full and on time.
Making a claim for Universal Credit
Before you make a claim for Universal Credit you will need to know the following information:
Your landlord details (that’s us) – The Gateshead Housing Company, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, NE8 1JN
Your exact housing cost – Call us on 0191 433 6150 and we will tell you what your exact housing costs are. This is important as if you do not supply the correct amount, your Universal Credit payment will be wrong.
Bank details – you will need to provide the details of the bank account your Universal Credit should be paid into. This will be the bank, account name, sort code and account number.
Email address – you will need an email address to make the claim. This email address will be used to then access your online journal, and to send or receive information from the DWP.
If you need to make a claim for Universal Credit, go to the GOV.UK website to start your claim.
Remember you will also need to claim separately for Council Tax Support.
When will I receive my Universal Credit payment?
Normally when you make a claim for Universal Credit, you will not be paid for the first seven days of the claim. The seventh day after you make your claim will be the date that you receive your Universal Credit payment each month.
You will normally receive your first payment of Universal Credit approximately six weeks after you make your initial claim.
After this it will be paid into your bank account at the same time each month. Remember it is paid monthly in arrears.
Find out if the seven-day waiting period will apply to you at the gov.uk website.
You make your claim for Universal credit on the 1st of the month.
You will not be paid for the first day until the seventh day of your claim.
Your Universal Credit pay date will be the 8th of the month.
How will I know how much Universal Credit I will receive?
The DWP will notify you what payment you will receive each month and will provide a breakdown of the payment you will receive.
Standard (personal) Allowance £317.82
Housing Costs* £350.00
* This is what you need to pay to us towards your rent. You may have an additional cost to pay if you are not receiving your full housing costs
What if I have already claimed Universal Credit?
Call the Rent Team on 0191 433 6150 and tell us that you have made a claim. We will explain the process to you and offer you any help, advice or support you may need. We will also set up a payment arrangement with you.
You will need to provide the DWP with your exact housing costs to ensure that you receive the correct amount of Universal Credit. We can advise you of your exact housing costs.
If you have already made a claim and are experiencing difficulties, call our Advice and Support Team on 0191 433 6161.
Paying your rent
It is very important that you pay the correct amount of rent and pay on time. If you do not pay correctly, this will result in arrears on your rent account. This will lead to recovery action and you could lose your home.
The easiest way to pay is by Direct Debit or standing order. Payment by these methods means that you won’t have to remember to make the payments as they will come straight out of your bank on a set date.
If you have been used to receiving a benefit payment on a weekly or fortnightly basis remember that Universal Credit will be paid to you only once every month. You will still receive the same amount of benefit as you did previously but you will have to budget the money you receive over a month.
You can use the Money Advice Service Free Budget Planner to get an in-depth overview of your household finances. This will help you to budget your income.
For further information regarding Universal Credit, budgeting tools and benefit entitlement calculators, visit the Money Advice Service website.
Hints and tips for Universal Credit
- Keep your phone on at all times for contact from Jobcentre
- Regularly log into your online account if you are on FULL service
- Make sure your landlord (that’s us) is aware that you have claimed Universal Credit
- Sanctions – it is very important to attend Jobcentre appointments and interviews. If you can’t attend your appointment, make sure you contact the Jobcentre as soon as possible to let them know. It’s far better to attend late on the same day as the appointment than not at all.
Need some help or support with Universal Credit?
If you experience any difficulties with Universal Credit and need some advice or help, you can contact our Advice and Support Team here in the Civic Centre.
You can contact them on 0191 433 6161 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org