Universal Credit is the new benefit that is slowly replacing a range of other benefits. It is meant to assist those who are unemployed or on low income to meet their daily expenses. Recipients of these benefits must be 18 years and over but should be under the state pension age. UC has slowly been implemented since September 2017 on a geographical basis, with its premier location being Northern Ireland.
A Little More On Universal Credit
If you are looking for a source of income that will help you pay your bills as you look for a job, you can consider UC. Not only do you get monetary benefits, you also get advice to help you prepare for job opportunities, advice on how to retain your job as well as how to earn more money. The aim of the institution is to help citizens build themselves up so that they do not have to rely on government benefits. If you need any career guidance, call Universal Credit contact number 0843 455 0035 today, and you will be connected to the relevant professionals.
The amount given as Universal Credit can be used to cover the cost of housing, childcare as well as expenses that come with taking care of special needs family members and the terminally ill.
Once you get the benefit, your only responsibility is to do your best to get a job and increase your income.
What Benefits Are Being Replaced By Universal Credit
Universal credit replaces a range of benefits. These are;
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-based Employment And Support Allowance
- Working and Child Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Housing Allowance (rentals)
Benefits that UC is not replacing include the following;
- Contribution based Jobseekers Allowance
- Contribution-based Employment And Support Allowance
- Child Benefits
- Carer’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits
Eligibility Criteria for Universal Credit
There is a simple eligibility test for those seeking to take advantage of UC. The set conditions include;
- As of now, applicants must be living in England, Wales or Scotland (Northern Ireland)
- Applicant must be 18 years and above (there are exemptions to candidates who are 16 -17 years old)
- Applicant must be below the state pension age
- The applicant must not be in full-time education or training
- The applicant must not have capital or savings above £16,000
There are some exemptions to the age rule:
Candidates who are 16 or 17 years can access Universal Credit if;
- Taking care of a severely disabled person
- Taking care of a child or children
- Have limited work capabilities or have medical evidence and are awaiting work capability assessment
- Are in a union with responsibility for raising at least one child and the partner is eligible for UC
- Are expecting a child in 11 weeks or less
- Have had a child in the last four months
- If lacking parental support and are not under local authority care
People in full-time education can also claim Universal Credit under the following exemptions;
- If responsible for at least one child whether single or as a couple (both students), biological or foster parenting
- Couples and the partners are eligible for UC
- If living with a disability or long-term illness and are entitled to PIP or DLA and have limited work capability
- Are under 21, without parental support and in ‘non-advanced education’ program such as BTEC National Diploma
How to Claim Universal Credit
If you live in Northern Ireland where UC is already in effect, go directly to the official government website and apply online. Fill out the necessary form and send it back to UC. Once your application has been submited for consideration, you will have to participate in an interview.
Since many benefits being replaced by UC are means-tested, you will attend the interview to help the department determine your circumstances and award you an appropriate amount.
Couples who wish to take up UC can fill the form jointly.
Anyone who is not in a position to apply online can call the Universal Credit contact number 0843 455 0035 or visit the nearest Jobcentre Plus office for assistance.
The Transition to Universal Credit
People who are already receiving other benefits will continue to do so as the gradual process completely replaces them by March 2022.
Since most benefits are given based on current circumstances, you can apply for Universal Credit once it is introduced in your area. You can voluntarily make a switch instead of waiting for the government’s move in replacing the benefits.
How to Prepare For the Transition to Universal Credit
If you are currently a receiver of any of the benefits being replaced by UC, the Department of Communities will reach out to you and guide you on the steps to take when the benefit is entirely replaced. Applicants will claim UC online. Call Universal Credit contact number 0843 455 0035 if you have any queries.
What Changes For Those Claiming Work Allowance?
If you are already getting work allowance, you can attest to the fact that the payment stops immediately you get a job. However, with UC, you will continue to receive payments for a given period before the benefit is withdrawn.
With UC, you will be allowed to take seasonal or temporary jobs without having to forfeit your allowances or make new claims as you change jobs.
Universal Credit payments are made every two weeks to each household. However, if you prefer a monthly payment, you can place a formal request. A household may be defined as a family, a couple, or a single person with or without children. If a couple does not want to receive the benefit jointly, they can request for split payments. You can call Universal Credit contact number 0843 455 0035 if you need guidance on any preferences you would like to request.
Other Benefits Available To You
There are other benefits that you can claim if you are affected by the introduction of Universal Credit.
Welfare Supplementary Payment
If you receive this benefit after being affected by a previous welfare change and would wish to claim Universal Credit, you will continue to receive your WSP. Note that your Welfare Supplement Payments will only continue if your eligibility and circumstances still apply.
Welfare Supplementary Benefits are available for all UC claimants who may be affected by welfare changes that include;
- Social sector size criteria
- Benefits cap
- Loss of carer payment
- Loss of contribution-based Employment and support allowance
If a UC claimant is eligible for any of these benefits, they will receive the payments without having to make a claim.
Do you need any assistance with understanding what the new UC means to you? Would you like assistance when claiming UC? Call
Universal Credit contact number 0843 455 0035
and you will get sorted out immediately. Lines are open 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.
Universal Credit Address.
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UC Post Handling Site B.