Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) Full Service in West Dunbartonshire commenced on 28th November 2018.  Six of the main means-tested benefits and tax credits will be affected:

  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income Based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

Universal Credit should simplify the benefits system by paying a range of working-age benefits together as one single payment.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. Universal Credit is different because it is a single benefit which will replace all of the following benefits:

  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income based Employment Support Allowance
  • Income Support

When will I go onto Universal Credit?

Universal Credit was introduced on 28th of November.  From that date any new claims for the benefits listed above will be under Universal Credit.

If you are currently on any of the benefits listed above, you will remain on them as normal until you are asked by the DWP to migrate over to Universal Credit.  

If you notify the DWP of a change of circumstance,  you may be moved over to Universal Credit at that point.  Not all changes will result in migration at this time so you should seek advice.

How do I make a new claim?

You can apply for Universal Credit by going on-line and following the instructions.

The web page to apply is: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

You should be aware that:

  • If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then need to pay your landlord directly.
  • If you live with someone as a couple and you are both required to claim UC, you will get one monthly joint payment paid into a single bank account.
  • There are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you’re claiming UC. Instead, the amount you get will gradually reduce as you earn more, so you won’t lose all your benefits at once.

What do I need to make the claim?

Before you apply for Universal Credit, you’ll need to gather some information together. You will be asked for the following details for you, and your partner if claiming as a couple:

  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Details of your bank, building society or credit union account
  • Postcode
  • NI number
  • The type of accommodation you have, e.g. privately rented, council tenant, or housing association tenant
  • How much is the full rent for your tenancy - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one
  • Any service charges you pay – e.g. communal charges for electricity etc.
  • Your landlord’s address - this can be found on your rent agreement, ask your landlord for a copy if you don’t have one
  • Your landlord's phone number
  • Details of any savings you have and any other ‘capital’ investments, e.g. shares or property that you don’t live in
  • Details of any income that’s not from work, e.g. from a pension
  • Details of how much you earn from work, e.g. recent payslips
  • How much you pay to a registered childcare provider (if you want to claim for childcare costs)
  • Child benefit reference numbers for any children you have if you get child benefit - this can be found on letters to you about child benefit
  • You’ll need evidence for all these details for when you go to your interview, so you’ll need to gather all the documents together, e.g. landlord agreement (or a letter from them with your rent amount on it), payslips, bank statements etc. details of any other benefits you’re getting, i.e. what benefit and how much you get.

How much will I receive?

Universal Credit is made up of a standard personal allowance plus elements for one or more of the following:

  • housing costs
  • if you are a carer
  • childcare costs
  • if you have any disabled children
  • if you are ill or disabled

Your maximum Universal Credit Award is made up of:

  • one standard allowance for your household, plus
  • any elements which cover your family circumstances

You will get the maximum award if your household has no other earnings and savings or capital of £6,000 or less.

If you or someone in your household has other earnings and/or savings, these will be taken into account when working out your Universal Credit payment.

When will I receive my first payment?

You will typically receive your first payment of UC five weeks from the date on which you complete your online claim.  Your circumstances are assessed each month, this period is known as your assessment period, you are typically then paid seven days after your assessment period has ended each month.

How will I manage for 5 weeks without a payment?

If you cannot manage you can request a Universal Credit Advance, you can do this by discussing your situation with your work coach or by phoning the DWP on 0800 328 5644.  UC Advances can also be requested via your online journal.

Will my rent be paid to my landlord?

No you will receive you payments for rent as part of your Universal Credit payment each month.  You will however have the option to request these payments are made directly to your landlord.

Do I also receive my council tax reduction in my Universal Credit payment?

No, you will need to apply for this separately. Visit the apply for a Council Tax Reduction page to complete the form.

I have heard that there are different rules in Scotland is this correct?

These are called Universal Credit (Scottish Choices).

When you claim Universal Credit you will be offered these choices via your online journal following receipt of your first payment of UC.  The choices offered to you will be the following:

  • Direct payment of your rent costs to your landlord
  • Payment of UC twice-monthly

I do not know how to use a computer, where can I get help?

There is a range of support available. Our Working4U teams can offer one-to-one internet training to help you navigate the new online system.  If you think this would be useful please contact Working4U on 01389 738775 or by email working4u@west-dunbarton.gov.uk to make an appointment.  Alternatively you can visit any Working4U drop in.  There are also a number of courses for digital support held all over West Dunbartonshire.

Job Centres

  • Clydebank - Radnor House, 245 Kilbowie Road, Clydebank G81 2JL
  • Dumbarton - 15 Meadowbank Street, Dumbarton G82 1SJ

I find completing forms confusing. Can I get assistance?

If you have any difficulties you can contact your local jobcentre and help will be available.

West Dunbartonshire Council is also providing help. You can find out more about that help by phoning our contact centre:

Someone will direct you to the support you require.