Our video below provides information on Changes to Welfare Reform
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit for people of working-age who are on a low income.
It replaces six existing means-tested benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
The above six benefits are also known as legacy benefits.
Universal Credit is intended to be simpler than the current system of benefits and tax credits.
Universal Credit is paid on a monthly basis. Entitlement is worked out by comparing your basic financial needs that the government says you need to live on with your financial resources.
Universal Credit is being introduced gradually. Whether you can claim depends on your personal circumstances.
You don’t need to do anything if you are already claiming existing legacy benefits and your situation stays the same. You will be told by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when you have to claim Universal Credit
For a full list of benefits that UC is replacing, please visit the Government’s website
If you’d like more information about UC, then a useful website to visit is Turn2us
What happens when I claim Universal Credit?
All Universal Credit claims are managed online via a portal by the Department of Work and Pensions. You will be paid monthly in arrears (one lump sum payment) into a bank account (the same way as a monthly salary is paid). It is important you budget for money to last the whole month.
As this money will include your Housing Benefit (HB), you will be responsible for paying your rent and service charge. Rosebery will no longer receive HB directly from the local authority on your behalf. Your tenancy agreement states that you have to pay your rent in advance, so it’s important you start budgeting and getting yourself in advance now.
If you are concerned about paying your rent from the UC you receive, it is possible to have the housing element of UC paid directly to us. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss this further.
- Who can help me with my Universal Credit claim?
What is the Benefit Cap?
The Benefit Cap is a limit to the amount of benefits that you can receive if you are of working age. From Autumn 2016, the UK Government will apply reductions to the Benefit Cap.
The new benefit cap amounts are:
- £385 per week for couples with or without children
- £385 per week a lone parent with dependent children
- £258 per week for single people without children
If the cap affects you, your housing benefit will be reduced and you will need to make up the difference between this and your rent. There are options available to help you supplement your income if you are affected by the cap.
What benefits are affected by the Benefit Cap?
The cap applies to the total amount people in your household get from benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Child Benefit. Even if you are claiming Universal Credit, you will still be subject to the benefit cap. To check whether the benefits you receive are affected by the cap, please find a full list on the Government’s website
Who is exempt from the Benefit Cap?
Some benefits are exempt from the cap, including Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance. For a full list of benefits which are exempt from the cap, please visit the Government’s website
Note: You are exempt from the Benefit Cap if you’re over the qualifying age for Pension Credit. This doesn’t mean you actually have to be getting Pension Credit – just that you’ve reached an age when you can apply for it if you want to
What can I do if I am affected by the Benefit Cap?
Our Tenancy Sustainment Officers (TSOs) can provide help and support if you are affected by the Benefit Cap. You can message our Tenancy Sustainment Officers (TSOs) through your My Rosebery account or talk to us via Live Chat every Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm.
What is the Bedroom Tax?
The Bedroom Tax (also known as an ‘Under Occupancy’ charge) means if you have a spare bedroom in a housing association or council owned property, you will receive less money in housing benefit. This will affect you if you are of working age (over 16 but under 64) and even if you only receive a small amount of housing benefit. Bedroom Tax will also apply to those claiming housing benefit related UC.
If you or your partner are of pension credit age, not working and claiming housing benefit together, you will not be subjected to Bedroom Tax.
If you have a spare room and are subject to the Bedroom Tax, then you may be able to downsize to a smaller home if one becomes available. We offer incentives to residents who choose to downsize so please contact us if you wish to discuss this further. Another option available to you is the route of a mutual exchange with another resident in a smaller property. To find out more information on your moving options, visit our Moving Home factsheet page or contact the Neighbourhood team via your My Rosebery account or contact us via live chat.
Our TSOs can also make an application on your behalf for a Discretionary Housing Payment form to support you in the meantime.
What happens if I do have a spare bedroom?
If you have one spare bedroom your housing benefit will be cut by 14% of the rent you pay each week. If you have two or more spare bedrooms your housing benefit will be cut by 25% of the rent you pay each week.
For more information on Bedroom Tax visit the Government’s website