Universal credit is a new single, monthly payment, introduced by government, which is replacing a number of existing benefits and tax credits, including housing benefit.
If you're of working age and your circumstances change, you will need to claim universal credit online. It can then take 6-8 weeks to receive your first payment so don't delay!
Universal credit will replace:
Universal credit brings together multiple benefits into one payment, which will be paid directly to you, every month, into your bank or building society or post office account. This means that you will need to now pay your rent directly to us.
The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit. Find out how to set up a direct debit here
The government have also produced this online tool to help you see how universal credit is different to other benefits and how you can best prepare.
If you live with a partner you'll now get a single payment for both of you, so you might want to consider opening a joint account to help you manage your money.
If you have a joint tenancy, but only one of you now resides at the property, this could affect your universal credit application. Please contact your account manager to discuss this further on 01225 715 715.
Universal credit is already in operation in Wiltshire and Somerset. We are seeing an increase in the number of Selwood Housing customers who are moving across to universal credit.
Universal credit will affect those of working age, who are on a low income. If you're looking for work, or not able to work universal credit will apply.
You'll move to universal credit when there is a change in your circumstances that affects your existing benefit claim, such as a change to your employment status or an addition to your family.
If you were claiming housing benefit prior to making a claim for universal credit, you need to ensure that your housing benefit will be paid up to the start of your claim. If this is not the case, you will need to contact your local council.
If you have a change in circumstances you may need to claim for universal credit. You will need to make your application online. If you don't have a computer you can make your claim at the local library or pop into our office in Trowbridge to use our computer in reception.
We'll try and keep you up to date with any changes to universal credit here.
(Firstly a reminder of how universal credit works with earnings....)
If you're employed, how much universal credit you get will depend on your earnings. As you earn more, your universal credit payment will reduce gradually.
You can earn a certain amount before your payment is reduced, if you are responsible for a child or young person, or you are living with a disability or health condition that affects your ability to work. This is called a 'work allowance'.
If you then earn enough to no longer claim universal credit, your payment will be stopped.
Surplus earnings were introduced last April. If your earnings in a month are more than £2,500 over the amount where your payment stopped, this becomes 'surplus earnings'.
Surplus earnings are carried forward to the following month, where they count towards your earnings. If in this following month you are still over the amount where your payment stops, you will not receive a universal credit payment.
Need a helping hand with your Universal Credit application?
For advice on universal credit, come along to one of our drop-in services:
Warminster Central car park
Bradford on Avon, The Hub@BA15
You can also drop in to our main office and ask to speak to an account manager at any time.