Universal Credit is a single payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal credit is available for unemployed people or those on a low income. As you move into employment and your income increases, your Universal Credit payments will decrease until you no longer need help.
Universal credit adjusts as your financial circumstances change.
How is Universal Credit calculated?
Universal Credit is calculated as a basic allowance for a single person or a couple plus additional amounts awarded for:
- Childcare costs
- Housing costs i.e. if you're unemployed, considering rent and mortgage payments
- Each child you're responsible for (with consideration for any disabilities)
- If you're unable to work due to an illness or disability i.e. you have a limited capability for work
- If you are a carer for a severely disabled person
For an estimate on any help you may be entitled to with rent, council tax or any welfare benefits, use the Online Benefit calculator from Gov.uk - Online Benefit Calculator
How does Universal Credit work?
Universal Credit is paid by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) monthly, directly into a bank account. It replaces the following benefits:
- Housing benefit
- Income based Jobseekers allowance
- Income related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Child and/or Working tax credit
Apply for Universal Credit
Universal Credit is awarded by the DWP, not Basildon Council. Find out if you're eligible and how to claim for Universal Credit on their website - GOV.UK - Universal Credit
Also, there's a helpline for any questions and to update your circumstances.
Call 0800 328 5644.
Depending on where you live in Basildon you may not be able to claim Housing Benefit, and will need to make a claim for Universal Credit.
You will still be able to claim Housing Benefit if;
- You are a Pensioner - Universal Credit is a working age benefit and you will be able to claim Housing Benefit if you have reached state pension age
- You have three or more children - Families with three or more children will still be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit until 1 February 2019
- You are living in supported accommodation - If you rent from a charity, or housing association, and receive care or support as part of your rent then you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. Please speak to your landlord for more advice
- You are living in temporary accommodation
If you are receiving any of the following;
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
Then you do not need to do anything and you will be informed when you need to make a claim for Universal Credit.
If you find that you are having difficulty while waiting for payments to start, the following links may be able to help:
- Citizens Advice can provide free and impartial help and advice
- You can receive advice from the Council if you are struggling with Rent Payment Difficulties
- If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, you may be entitled to assistance via Local Council Tax Support or Exceptional Hardship Payments
- You may be able to receive advice from one of the Housing Associations operating in the Basildon Borough
- If you find yourself struggling with debt, you can receive advice and help from a number of charities such as the Debt Support Trust, The National Debtline and Stepchange Debt Charity
- The Money Advice Service provides free and impartial money advice
- The following food banks operate within the Basildon borough: