About universal credit
Universal credit is a new working age benefit being brought in by the Department for Work & Pensions which will eventually take the place of the income-based (means tested) parts of jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance. It will also replace income support, housing benefit and the child and working tax credits. You can find out more about universal credit by using the links on this page.
It's been brought in slowly to start with, and has only affected single jobseekers, but we expect many more people, including families and people in work, will need to claim it from May 2018. Jobcentre Plus will tell you if you have to claim this new benefit, or one of the old benefits instead.
There are some things about universal credit that differ from other benefits.
How do I make a claim?
Universal credit claims need to be made using the internet, but Jobcentre Plus has said that if someone can't do this then they may be able to offer help. You should get in touch with your jobcentre first, but there are other places where you might be able to get help or be able to use a computer to make a claim. When you make a claim you may find that you're asked to take information into the jobcentre to support it. It's really important that you do supply everything you need to support your claim, because if you don’t your claim may be delayed, or you could lose money. Reporting all changes will need to be done online soon as well.
Our computer skills for all guidance lists places where you might find help to get online. It's available to download from the related documents section of this page.
How is universal credit paid?
Universal credit will be paid monthly, so you may need to be ready for a change in how often you get paid. If you're making a new claim, you may have to wait up to six weeks before you get paid. Universal credit will include the money for your rent. It will no longer be paid through housing benefit from Shropshire Council; it will be paid directly to you. This means you'll have to pay your rent to your landlord.
If you think you'd find it difficult to manage with a monthly payment, or you think your home may be at risk, the Money Advice Service can help.
Am I ready for universal credit?
Try the simple test on the DWP website to see what you might need to do to be ready.
Where can I find help?
Help to get online
There are a number of options around the county that offer computer skills training, take a look at the leaflet in the related documents section. However, please note that if you need support to make a claim you should check first, because not all of the sites listed can offer this.
Help with budgeting and money
If you rent your house from a housing association they may be able to help you. Contact your neighbourhood officer for more information.
If you want to help yourself, there's some helpful information on these websites:
- The Money Advice Service for helpful information and tips
- The CAB have some really useful information on their website
- OBS Money Advice Service (registration needed)
Where can I find out more about universal credit?
There is a universal credit helpline on 0345 600 0723, and you'll also find some useful information online:
Who can I go to if I need more help?
Housing association: if you're renting a home from a housing association it may be able to help and support you. Speak to your neighbourhood officer for more information.
Jobcentre Plus: you need to make an appointment to see someone at a jobcentre but you can find your local office on the direct gov website.
Citizen’s Advice Shropshire: find details of your local CAB office on their website.
Help to find work
You'll need to sign a claimant commitment when you claim universal credit. This will include the actions you'll take to find work. We've published a useful work skills leaflet (available to download from the related documents section of this page) that shows you the support available across Shropshire to help you find work or to get more skilled so that you can find work. It also contains information about volunteering and online work search engines.