Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit that provides help to those who do not have enough money to live on.
It is a key part of the government’s current welfare reform programme, is not taxable and is intended to replace several current means-tested benefits and tax credits.
Who will be affected?
Universal Credit will only affect new claims from single people without children; however as has happened in other parts of the country, this information is subject to change.
What benefits will Universal Credit replace?
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit.
Who will qualify for Universal Credit?
It will be available to people who are:
- In full-time or part-time work
- Unemployed or sick
- Part of a couple
- Lone parents.
The minimum age of entitlement is usually 18, with 16 to 17 year olds only being able to claim in limited circumstances, such as being disabled, a carer, or being without parental support.
In order to qualify you will have to be present and habitually resident in Great Britain, and possess less than £16,000 in capital.
How do I make a claim?
The main difference with Universal Credit is that the vast majority of people will have to make their claims and manage any changes to their application online.
How will I be paid?
The majority of people will be paid Universal Credit monthly in arrears into a bank account.
What does this mean for paying my rent?
If you have previously received Housing Benefit, the main difference is that Universal Credit will be paid directly to you rather than your landlord, be that Dale & Valley Homes, Durham City Homes or East Durham Homes.
This means that you will be responsible for paying your rent and making sure that you do not fall into arrears.