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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a welfare benefit launched in 2013 to replace six means-tested benefits and tax credits: Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support.

 You may be able to claim Universal Credit instead of certain benefits if you’re on a low income or out of work, but you normally would not necessarily need to do anything if you’re already claiming benefits.

In respect of tax credits, you’ll be told to end your tax credits claim if you or your partner claim Universal Credit.

However, Universal Credit is being introduced in stages. Whether you can claim depends on where you live and your personal circumstances. You may be still be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or other benefits if you don’t live in a qualifying area or you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit.

The amount of Universal Credit you’ll get obviously depends on your circumstances and your income. It can include support for housing, for children and childcare, if you’re disabled or have a health condition or if you care for somebody with a disability.

You must pay your rent directly to your landlord if you get Universal Credit to help you with housing. If you are working there are no limits to the number of hours you can work a week if you get Universal Credit, but, not surprisingly, your payment will reduce gradually as you earn more. You won’t lose all your benefits at once if you’re on a low income. Furthermore, unlike current benefits it’ll be paid once a month, usually into your bank or building society. If you live with your partner and you both claim Universal Credit you’ll receive a single payment that covers you both. 

There is a waiting period after submitting your claim before your Universal Credit will start, but, as usual, there are variations depending on prior and present circumstances. From this brief summary you will appreciate that Universal Credit and the many benefits and allowances it replaces is complex. Paperweight will steer you through this maze and assist with the obligatory form-filling! 

We will talk you through everything you need to know

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