You might have heard that the Government is changing the benefits system across the whole country.
One of the biggest changes is Universal Credit. This is being rolled out in Wrexham from 4 October 2017.
So if you have certain changes in your circumstances such as becoming unemployed, you may be required to make a claim for Universal Credit.
What is Universal Credit?
- Universal Credit is a single monthly payment that is replacing some other benefits for working age people, including Housing Benefit.
- Until now only single jobseekers have claimed Universal Credit in Wrexham, but from October 2017 it will be more widely available. Universal Credit will start to be rolled out to many people who need to make a new claim for benefits or tax credits.
What you need to know if you are a council tenant claiming Universal Credit
- Any help you get with rent will likely be included with your Universal Credit payment.
- How much you’ll get depends on your circumstances, including your income and how many children you have.
- Housing Benefit is currently paid directly to your rent account. One important difference with Universal Credit is that all the payments will go to your bank account. This means you will be responsible for paying the rent yourself.
- Remember – If you are a council tenant, you will need to update your Universal Credit claim if your rent changes, including annual increases. You’ll also need to tell Universal Credit if you have any changes in your circumstances (such as becoming unemployed) so they can make sure you are receiving the correct amount.
- Most people will be expected to claim Universal Credit online (see below for details).
Lead Member for Housing, Cllr David Griffiths, said: “Universal Credit is very different to the benefits system which preceded it and we are aware that the changes could affect many of our tenants, particularly those who have been used to their Housing Benefit being paid to their rent account. They will now be expected to pay the rent themselves.
“It is vitally important that tenants continue to prioritize paying their rent before getting into arrears However, we do understand that there may well be delays and other issues with receiving payments so we will be offering support and guidance to affected tenants.
“I would urge any tenants who think they may be affected by Universal Credit to contact their estate office as soon as possible. Our Housing Officers will be more than happy to help.”
Where to get information and advice
- If you are a council tenant and are in receipt of, or about to make a claim for, Universal Credit make sure you speak to your estate office for advice and support with your rent payments.
- To find more information on Universal Credit and to make a claim, visit: www.gov.uk/universal-credit
- The DWP Universal Credit phone lines are now free & you will not be charged if you call to get help with a Universal Credit claim. For Universal Credit live service call : 0800 328 9344 and for Universal Credit full service call: 0800 328 5644
- You can also contact Wrexham Council’s Welfare Rights service for advice.
- The Money Advice Service offers free, impartial money advice, courtesy of the Government: www.moneyadviceservice.org
- Turn2us is a national charity that helps people in financial hardship gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services – www.turn2us.org.uk
- If you are not a council tenant, but think you may be affected by Universal Credit, visit www.gov.uk/universal-credit for more information.
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