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Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new single payment for working age people who are looking for work or on a low income. It has been rolled out across the country and was introduced in our area in March 2015. The introduction initially only applied to people that were single and would have previously applied for Jobseekers Allowance.

In May 2016, Universal Credit Full Service was rolled out in Lowestoft, meaning that the most new claims to 'legacy benefits' made since then, within postal codes NR32, NR33, NR34 4 and IP19 1, would claim Universal Credit instead. These “legacy benefits” are Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.

Universal Credit Full Service was rolled out to Beccles Job Centre on 18 October 2017 which has affected postcodes in both the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Council areas.

Postcodes covered by Universal Credit Full Service in the
Suffolk Coastal District Council area

IP18 6 IP19 0 IP19 9 NR34 8

Postcodes covered by Universal Credit Full Service in the
Waveney District Council area

IP18 6 IP19 0 IP19 1 IP19 8 IP19 9 NR32 NR33
NR34 0 NR34 4 NR34 7 NR34 8 NR34 9 NR35 1 NR35 9

As Universal Credit Full Service is rolled out to other Job Centres, it will be introduced to further postcodes within the Suffolk Coastal and Waveney areas. Please see our section on future roll out plans for more information.

People living in Supported Accommodation may still be able to apply for Housing Benefit. The rules regarding this are complex and if you think you are living in supported accommodation, please speak to your Landlord, or contact us, to confirm.

Some families, with more than two children, living in Universal Credit Full Service sites will still be able claim legacy benefits including Housing Benefit following 6 April 2017.

From 1 April 2017 the rules regarding young single people claiming Universal Credit has changed. This will affect single people aged 18 to 21.

YouTubePlayButton Opening a Universal Credit account online

Working with students at Lowestoft College, Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District Councils have produced a series of videos to promote and explain how Universal Credit works and how it can #makeyourmoneygofurther!

YouTubePlayButton Universal Credit - Help Your Money Go Further! #1
YouTubePlayButton Universal Credit - Help Your Money Go Further! #2

5 reasons Universal Credit will help you move back into work and #makeyourmoneygofurther

  1. Universal Credit is a single monthly payment that will be paid similar to a wage, this will enable you to prepare for the world of work.
  2. Universal Credit claims are assessed using a real time information system which tracks your earnings through the Pay as you earn system. This means your monthly payment will be amended to top up your benefit should your earnings drop.
  3. Universal Credit applicants are more attractive to employers. This is because you are not at risk of coming off one benefit, and moving onto another, and creating complex in and out of benefit systems. Universal Credit tracks your earnings from employment and adjusts to top up your benefit should your earnings drop. This means you are now able to consider working on a varied hours contract, safe in the knowledge this will not create complex in and out of benefit situations. Your Universal Credit will just track your earnings and adjust accordingly.
  4. Universal Credit applicants can benefit from a financial health check via the Local Authority. Instead of checking various money saving websites, we have enlisted the help of Citizens Advice to help you #makeyourmoneygofurther. Simply discuss making your money go further with your work coach and you will be given a free meeting with Citizens Advice.
  5. Universal Credit accounts will be available to view online similar to online banking. This will enable you to notify of changes to your circumstance in real time and allow you to check payments and awards as and when you can, rather than having to phone or make an appointment with your work coach.

How do I get ready for Universal Credit?

By completing the Universal Credit Preparation Questions, you'll know if there are important changes you need to make and advice on what you need to do to prepare for Universal Credit. This should take about 5 minutes.

Universal Credit – future roll out plans

The Government has announced the Universal Credit Full Service roll out dates for the remainder of the Country. The remaining Waveney postcode area of IP20 is due to go Full Service with Diss Jobcentre, on 7 February 2018. In April 2018 Full Service will be introduced at Ipswich Jobcentre. Some postcodes within Suffolk Coastal District Council area will move onto Full Service with Ipswich Jobcentre, these are likely to be within Rushmere and Kesgrave. From June 2018 all three Jobcentres within Suffolk Coastal area (Leiston, Woodbridge and Felixstowe) will move onto Full Service. At this stage the whole of Suffolk Coastal and Waveney areas will have moved onto Full Service.

Further information

For further information visit the GOV.UK website. The Money Advice Service also offers useful information and have developed an online tool that provides practical support and advice.

Information about Universal Credit and finding work is now available by pressing the red button on the TV remote control. Sky and Virgin customers who have interactive TV can scroll through the menu to the relevant page to view a raft of information, including checking their eligibility for Universal Credit and learning how they can make a claim.

  • On Sky go to Channel 539 and press the red button
  • On Virgin go to Channel 233 and press the red button, or on the remote control chose Home, Interactive, Sports, News & Info, Looking Local.

Looking Local has also launched an interface for the Wii games console, Wii users can now use this to view information regarding Universal Credit. And those who use their smartphone to connect to the web, can access the information via the new app, My Council. Further information can also be accessed via Facebook.

To access information on Universal Credit using these new services:

Universal Credit - Finding work

The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a new online resource for job seekers. The website includes hints on creating an eye-catching CV and tips on getting into specific sectors that are recruiting now, the blog-style site features advice directly from employers and recruiters. It also includes information about Universal Credit and the ways it can help people get back to work.

Money Advice regarding Universal Credit

Six animated videos to help you understand different aspects of Universal Credit are now available on the Money Advice Service website.

  1. Getting ready for Universal Credit
  2. How to choose a bank account
  3. How to open a bank account
  4. How to make payments using your bank account
  5. How to use your bank account to make budgeting easier
  6. Worried about paying your rent

Universal Credit Information for Landlords

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have created a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding Universal Credit and Rented Housing. If you are a landlord you may find this useful. It has been produced primarily for private and social sector landlords so they understand what they can do to help their tenants prepare for the move to direct payments. It also explains how Universal Credit will ensure appropriate protections and safeguards are in place.

The DWP have also created a Support Pack for Social Landlords.

The Money Advice Service have created an Information for Landlords page you may find useful.

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