What you need to know
A new benefit called Universal Credit has started to replace a range of benefits and tax credits.
Universal Credit is not just for people who are out of work. If you’re getting tax credits or help with your rent, then you’ll eventually be moved onto Universal Credit. It might even affect you if you’re retired and getting Pension Credit.
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. At the moment, it mainly applies to people who are newly unemployed and living in certain areas of the country. However, it will eventually be brought in for everyone claiming the benefits and tax credits it is replacing, which are:
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance.
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
- Income Support.
- Child Tax Credit.
- Working Tax Credit.
- Housing Benefit.
Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears to your bank account.
If you’re getting Housing Benefit
Your monthly Universal Credit payment will include a ‘housing costs element’ which will replace the help you currently get from Housing Benefit.
If you have your rent paid directly to Accent, this will change under Universal Credit. The money for your rent will be paid to you as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. This means that you will be responsible for paying the money you get for your rent directly to us.
Not everyone who will receive Universal Credit is receiving it at present, as it is being introduced across the country gradually.
Although the number of Accent residents who have changed to Universal Credit is still quite small, the payment is already causing some financial difficulties as people get used to it. It is a big change, particularly because the housing cost you receive for your rent is included in the payment. In some cases, people are getting into rent arrears.
If you are receiving Universal Credit, or you know when you will, please tell us. We can offer you advice on how, where and when to pay your rent, and put you in touch with someone who can provide support you if you need it.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, whether you receive Universal Credit or not, please contact us urgently. We are here to help.