Universal Credit has replaced a range of benefits and tax credits for people of working age.
Universal Credit is a single, monthly payment of benefits that includes financial help towards rent. It is paid into a bank or Post Office account every month in arrears and it is the claimant’s responsibility to pay their rent from their Universal Credit payment.
Whether you can claim it and the way you manage your claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. There are currently two Universal Credit services operating across Greater Manchester.
People on the ‘full service’ have an online Universal Credit account to manage their claim. They can use their account to report changes, send messages to their work coach and find support. Eventually all Universal Credit claims will move over.
People who live in a ‘live service’ area manage their claim by phone. They will soon move over to the ‘full service’. If you’re affected, the Government Department for Work and Pensions will notify you of this. Please don’t ignore this, if you don’t register for your full service account within the given time, your Universal Credit will stop and you may face up to six weeks without any income.
If you claim Universal Credit any changes to your circumstances may affect how much Universal credit you are able to claim. You are responsible for telling the Department of Work and Pensions of any changes.
If this happens, you will have to apply for and manage your Universal Credit online. To get ready for these changes there are some simple things you can do now to make sure you can manage your money and pay your bills.
53 week rent year
In 2019/20 there are 53 weeks in the rent year. If you pay us monthly you will need to work out your monthly payment, here’s how to do this:
*if you are on an agreement to repay arrears you will need to include this amount when working out your monthly payment*
Why are there 53 weeks in this rent year?
There are 365 days in a year, and 366 days in a leap year. However, as the calendar year is split into 52 weeks of 7 days, this only equals 364 days, creating a ‘spare’ day each year. The means that every 5/6 years there is a 53 week year to account for these ‘spare’ days.
The DWP base your UC payment on 52 weeks, our Income Management Officer, Lesley will be contacting those customers in receipt of Universal Credit that pay monthly, not by Direct Debit, to discuss their individual circumstances, but in the meantime if you would like any further information please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow these four simple steps to make sure you're ready for Universal Credit
You will manage your Universal Credit online so make sure you have access to the internet. This could be on a computer, tablet or even your mobile phone. If you don’t have access, your local Job Centre, library or local authority will have facilities that you can use. They will also have details of courses to help you to manage your money online. You will also need an email address so if you’ve not got one already, set one up today.
Draw up a budget. The Money Advice Service provide a free online budget planner visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. As Universal Credit is paid monthly, you’ll have to start managing your money monthly. Always prioritise paying your rent.
Make sure you have all the information you will need to apply for Universal Credit. This includes photographic ID, such as a passport or driving licence, your rent details and the name of your landlord. We have provided the details about your rent on the handy pull out card. Please keep this safe in your wallet or with your rent statements, so you have it to hand when you need it.
Call us for a confidential and informal chat on 0300 561 1111 (this is included in any inclusive calls made from a mobile and low cost for all landlines).
You can also find out more about Universal Credit in this short video