IMPORTANT – THIS MAY AFFECT YOU!
Moving over to Universal Credit
You may be aware that Universal Credit has replaced some of the benefits such as Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Working / Child Tax Credits. Up to now, you would only be transferred to Universal Credit if you had a change in circumstances, like a new child or moving house.
However, the Government is planning on moving EVERYONE over, they are calling this Managed Migration.
Whilst there is no particular start date, they aim to have completed this process by 2025.
What is Managed Migration?
EVERYONE who is claiming a benefit will have to claim Universal Credit, no matter what their circumstances.
You will be contacted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and informed that your benefit will be stopping and that you will need to claim Universal Credit.
Will I be affected?
Yes, if you claim any of the following you WILL be affected –
- Housing Benefit
- Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Income Support
There are also plans for Universal Credit to include Pension Credits. If you are currently on a State Pension and receive Housing Benefit you will need to claim Universal Credit.
When will this happen?
Honestly, we don’t know. We cannot find any information relating to when claimants in our area will be migrated, which means it could be next month, it could be next year. We will endeavour to keep you fully updated as soon as we find out.
What do I need to know?
- You need to be aware that when you are moved on to Universal Credit you may go without any payment for up to 6 weeks. Whilst you may be able to get an advance payment, this will be deducted from your ongoing payments. This will also mean that you will not receive any money towards your rent for this amount of time, ultimately this will put your account into significant arrears.
- You are only able to apply for Universal Credit online but don’t panic if you do not have access to a computer as there are many places that will help you apply, such as the Job Centre or Citizens Advice (CA).
- You will need a bank account.
- You need to be aware that you will receive one lump payment a month. This will also include your housing allowance (rent money) being paid directly to you.
What do I need to do?
Ideally, you need to start now to prepare for a six week period without any payments.
We understand that this is easier said than done, however, you could do small things now to try and make life easier for yourself once this time comes. This could be things like starting to save £10.00 a week or a month, depending on what you can afford, or making sure you are already getting the best deals on your utilities to save yourself money in the long run.
With regards to your rent, whilst we understand that you are likely to go into significant arrears, we still need you to make payments. Some of our tenants have chosen to start paying £10.00 a month now (even though they are on full housing benefit), to act as a buffer for when they are moved over to Universal Credit and the rent does not get paid for several weeks.
However, the most important thing you need to do is to remember to
COMMUNICATE WITH US AND EVERYONE ELSE.
This could potentially be a very difficult period for you financially, especially if you are already living on a limited income.
- If you cannot afford to pay bills, contact your creditors.
- If you cannot meet your rent payments, ring us.
- If you cannot afford food, please go to your local food bank.
- Be honest with friends and family. Most people will be able to relate to your situation and will understand if you can’t buy expensive birthday presents or go out for meals.
- Please do not struggle on your own.
Whilst we understand that any money would be better than nothing, we strongly advise that you stay away from payday loans and loan sharks. They might appear to be a quick fix, but the interest rates that most companies offer are excessively high and this will most likely put you further into debt and make an already stressful time even harder.
We will be contacting you over the next few months about your rent account and the different options available to help prevent you from going into arrears.
You can claim Universal Credit online – Universal Credit: How to claim – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)