About Universal Credit
Universal Credit is part of the government’s Welfare Reform. It is a new benefit that is replacing the six existing benefits with a single monthly payment if you are out of work or on a low income.
Universal Credit is replacing:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
Oldham Job Centre started taking claims for Universal Credit from a small group of claimants, single people only, on 29 July 2013. Couples started to claim Universal Credit from 28th July 2014 and families from January 2015, all claimants being switched to Universal Credit by 2017.
What do you need to do?
If you already claim a benefit
If you already claim one of the six benefits that will be eventually be replaced by Universal Credit, you will continue to do so for now.
If your current circumstances stay the same you will be invited to apply for Universal Credit at some point in the future as it is extended to more groups. However, if your current circumstances change you may be invited to apply for Universal Credit sooner.
If you are making a new benefit claim
If you are newly unemployed you may be eligible to make a claim for Universal Credit.
- Live in Oldham but are not homeless, in supported or temporary accommodation, nor a homeowner
- Be aged between 18 years and 60 years and 6 months
- Be a British citizen with a National Insurance number
- Be fit for work and not have applied for a fitness for work note
- Consider yourself/yourselves fit for work
- Not have received a payment of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that ended in the last two weeks, except where ESA ended due to a decision that you no longer have limited capability for work
- Not be pregnant nor have given birth within the last 15 weeks
- Not be receiving existing benefits or tax credits, nor awaiting a decision on, nor be appealing against, a decision not to award any of those
- Not be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Be either out of work or you or your partner, if you have one, not expected to individually receive take-home pay of more than £338 in the next month.
- Be either out of work or you and your partner not expected to receive joint take home pay of more than £541 in the next month
- Not have more than £6000 in Savings and Capital (total capital whether held individually or jointly)
- Not have any caring responsibilities
- Have lived in the UK for the last two years and not have been abroad for more than four weeks continuously during that time
- Not be required to pay child maintenance via the Child Support Agency
- Not be an approved foster parent (even if you currently have no foster children)
- Not be expecting to adopt a child in the next 2 months or (where family claims may be made) or have adopted a child within the last 12 months
- Not be self-employed, in education nor have a person acting on your behalf over your claim, and you must
- Have a valid bank account
You cannot make a new claim for Universal Credit if one or more children in the household:
- Is receiving Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment
- Is blind or severely sight impaired
- Is fostered
- Is looked after by the local authority
If you are not eligible to claim Universal Credit you will be advised to claim one of the 6 benefits, whichever is relevant, that is being replaced by Universal Credit.
Have a go at the Universal Credit Personal Planner to find out how you'll be affected (takes 5 - 10 minutes).
Making a claim
You will need to make a claim for Universal Credit online. If you don't have your own facilities to do this, you can find out where your nearest public access computer is and what support is available at each location to help you apply:
Before you start
Make sure you have the following information before you start as you cannot save your application and return to it later:
- Your National Insurance Number
- Details of the bank, building society or Post Office account you want Universal Credit paid into
- Your rent agreement (if you have one)
- Details of your savings or other capital
- Details of any income that’s not from work (e.g. from an insurance plan)
- Details of any other benefits you’re getting
What support is available?
You can get money and debt advice, plus help with managing your finances at Make the most of your money.
Apply for Universal Credit
Find out full information about Universal Credit and apply for it at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.
Change of circumstances
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and have a change of circumstances (such as a partner or dependent child moves in, you start work, or move house) you must report this to the DWP on:
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
If you need to supply the DWP with proof of your circumstances such as income, capital or rental agreement you must post these to:
Blackpool, FY2 0SQ
Worried about how benefit changes might affect you? Phone lines are open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Advisers at Access Oldham can talk you through the benefits, how to claim them & additional support.
Oldham, OL1 1UG
(For Sat Navs use OL1 1NL)