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Changes to Universal Credit from 13 December 2017

UC will be extended to all new claimants of means tested benefits from 13 December 2017.

Universal Credit (UC) is a benefit that is paid to working age people on low income with low / no savings. It is paid whether they are in or out of work, a carer, sick and/or disabled, look after children or need support with housing costs like rent or mortgage.

UC will replace: Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

It will not replace the other benefits like contributory Jobseekers Allowance or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

You may need to claim UC if you have a change in your circumstances that ends your current entitlement to benefits. 

How is Universal Credit different from other benefits?

  • There will be no paper claim forms. Most claims will be made online.
  • No benefit entitlement for the first seven days at the start of your claim - known as 'waiting days'.
  • Entitlement to benefit starts from the 8th day of your claim. You then enter an assessment period for one calendar month. After this your entitlement to benefit will be assessed and paid (6 weeks from date of claim).
  • Any change of circumstances within the assessment period will be backdated to the start of the assessment period.
  • You must tell DWP straight away within the same assessment period for any increase.
  • Any decrease in entitlement will be backdated to the start of the assessment period that the change occurred in.
  • Awards will be paid to one member of a couple.
  • You will receive one monthly payment that includes an element for your rent. You will have to pay your rent to your landlord.
  • You can ask about alternative payment arrangements.
  • All claimants, including both members of a couple, will be placed in a work related conditionality group.
  • Your claim will be managed online and communications will be via email / text.

Will I be affected?

  • If you or your partner are of working age and need to claim a means tested benefit for the first time after 13 December 2017, you'll have to claim Universal Credit
  • If you already get a means tested benefit and your entitlement ends because of a change of circumstances you will need to claim UC. For example, you are getting Housing Benefit and your employment ends so you need to claim a benefit because you are unemployed
  • If you already get Universal Credit but made your claim before 13 December, you will be contacted between March - June 2018 so that your UC claim can be transferred over to the full digital service.

Who won't be affected?

  • Anybody who does not claim UC
  • Those in receipt of a benefit who do not have a change of circumstances
  • If you have three or more children you will not be able to claim UC

Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and UC

Housing Benefit claims still need to be made if you claim UC and you live in supported accommodation.

You will need to claim Council Tax Reduction if you have to pay Council Tax.

Get further advice and support before you claim Universal Credit if:

  • You are a student
  • You are an EEA national
  • You get a disability benefit and have your first child

Universal Credit helpline (DWP)
Telephone: 0800 328 9344 
Welsh language (make a claim): 0800 012 1888 
Welsh language (report changes): 0800 328 1744 
Textphone: 0800 328 1344 
Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 6.00pm 
Find out about call charges on the government website

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