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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 replaces Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Income based Jobseekers Allowance and Income related Employment and Support Allowance.

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.

On 17 October 2018 the final three Jobcentres affecting East Suffolk area, Felixstowe, Leiston and Woodbridge, became Universal Credit Full Service Jobcentres.

This means that all postcodes within East Suffolk area are now covered by Universal Credit Full Service.

Opening a Universal Credit account online

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

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 (PAYE) 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.

Preparing for Universal Credit?

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

We teamed up with our colleagues at North East Suffolk and Felixstowe Citizens Advice to create a handy ‘Understanding Universal Credit’ video to help you get ready for Universal Credit.

Universal Support

If you need to claim Universal Credit you can get help to make or manage your online claim or your monthly payments of Universal Credit. This help is called Universal Support.

Further information

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

Our East Suffolk Universal Credit Guide for Private Landlords has been produced as a result of working in partnership with private rented sector landlords to raise awareness of Universal Credit and the support on offer locally. The pack also includes ways to prepare for Universal Credit, a guide to alternative payment arrangements and lessons learned from a local private landlord with tenants already getting Universal Credit.

For more information visit the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Universal Credit and rented housing guide.

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

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