Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is a single, integrated means- tested benefit payable to people of working age who are on a low income. You can claim it if you are looking for work, if you are unable to work through sickness or disability, if you are a lone parent, if you are caring for someone or if you are working and your wages are low.

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What is Universal Credit?

A single means tested benefit that replaces Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Related Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working and Child Tax Credits.

Other benefits like Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance and Employment & Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Retirement Pension remain unchanged.

Why change?

The Government has given the following reasons for implementing changes:

  • To simplify the system.
  • To incentivise work.
  • To reduce worklessness and act as route out of poverty.
  • It is fairer to claimants and Tax payers
  • To promote the take up of benefits
  • To reduce fraud, overpayments and administration costs.
Who can make a new Universal Credit claim?

You may be able to get Universal Credit if you live in the UK and:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work.
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you.
Existing claimants

Most of Shine’s members currently receive ‘Legacy Benefits’, mainly Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit etc. These claimants will be transferred over to Universal Credit through a ‘Managed Migration’ process. The 12 month pilot phase of this was due to start in July 2019 but this pilot has been suspended due to Covid 19 and will not start again until 2022.

When the pilot re-starts claimants in the ‘Managed Migration’ process will have Transitional Protection so they won’t lose out financially. Effectively the amount they receive will be frozen until Universal Credit catches up.

However, claimants whose circumstances change before the beginning of ‘Managed Migration’ could lose Transitional Protection.

Many single claimants whose circumstances change will have a Transitional Payment added to their Universal Credit instead of the Severe Disability Premium. Please get advice from Shine if your circumstances are about to change.

Universal Credit award

The amount awarded will depend on the income and circumstances of all the household members.

In working out Universal Credit award, firstly the household’s maximum Universal Credit award is calculated. This will be made up of one basic allowance and any additional elements that apply. Then your income, capital assets and savings are taken into account. The difference between these two figures is the award that the claimant will receive.

For more information go to: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

If you need more support or advice with Universal Credit please contact Shine on 01733 555988 or speak to your Support and Development Worker.


More videos on universal credit

These videos have been produced by the Department for Work and Pensions

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