The British Government has introduced Universal Credit for people who are on a low income, looking for work or working and on a low income. Eventually it will replace the following benefits:
- Income based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
You may get Universal Credit in many different circumstances including if you are:
- working and on a low income
- unable to work because of your health or a disability
- unable to work because you are caring for someone with a disability
- responsible for dependent children
You can only apply for Universal Credit online. The Department for Work and Pensions have made a video explaining how to open an account online. If you do not have internet access at home, your local Job Centre Plus will be able to help make your claim. You can also visit your local library, the Citizens Advice Bureau or one of our offices to get online and make your claim.
You need to have your own email address – this is essential before you apply.
Include details of your rent when you claim so that your housing costs are included in your monthly payment. If you are unsure of your monthly rent please contact us.
Universal Credit can only be paid directly into a bank, building society or credit union account.
Your rent, known as the Housing Element, will be paid with your Universal Credit and will be paid directly to you. However, in Scotland, you can request to have the rent paid directly to Cairn by putting an entry in your Universal Credit Journal.
Universal Credit will take at least a month to pass on your rent money to Cairn and your rent account will show as being in arrears during this time. It’s always a good idea to inform your Housing Officer when you apply for Universal Credit so that they are aware of any potential changes to your rent account.
How much you receive will depend on your circumstances and income during your fixed monthly assessment period, so the amount you get could be different each month. This website gives you an idea of potential earnings.
Everyone who claims Universal Credit will need to accept a ‘claimant commitment’. This sets out what sort of work related activity you may be expected to do to receive your monthly payment. It is tailored to your specific circumstances.
It’s important that you make them aware of any change in your circumstances that might affect your ability to look for work. If you don’t keep to the terms of your agreement, you may be sanctioned which will result in your Universal Credit payment being reduced or even stopped.
If your claim for Universal Credit is rejected or you have been sanctioned, you can come to us for advice and support. We have a dedicated Benefits Advisor who is experienced in making appeals to the Department of Work and Pensions and he will assist you through this process.
For more information or advice on Universal Credit please contact us, your local Citizens Advice or your local council’s welfare benefits service. You can also find out more by reading this leaflet by the Scottish Government or going to this website.