The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) is now rolling out Universal Credit – part of the UK government's programme of welfare reform – in South Ayrshire.
Universal Credit (UC) replaces six existing benefits with a single monthly payment for people who are out of work or on a low income and making a new claim.
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
Universal Credit aims to:
- improve claimants’ incentive to work
- make it easier for them to move in and out of work
- be easier to understand than the existing benefits system
- reduce poverty among people on low incomes
- process changes of circumstance in real time and reduce error
- be more cost effective to operate
The main difference is that Universal Credit is paid in only one monthly payment and recipients are then responsible for budgeting throughout the month and paying all bills – including rent.
Further information about Universal Credit can be found on the DWP website and in the DWP information leaflet, ‘An Introduction to Universal Credit’.
Who administers Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is administered by the DWP. The DWP has two jobcentres in South Ayrshire – in Ayr and Girvan – and they will be involved in the administration of Universal Credit alongside a DWP Universal Credit Service Centre.
Who can apply for Universal Credit?
The DWP is implementing Universal Credit in stages across the country. At this time in South Ayrshire, only working age single people who wish to make a new claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance will now move to Universal Credit.
Universal Credit will gradually be extended to other claimants in the future, including those with disabilities, couples and families. This is not expected to be rolled-out to these groups in South Ayrshire until 2017.
Who needs to know?
If you make a claim for Universal Credit, you should let your landlord know – whether that’s the Council, housing association or private landlord – so you can make the necessary arrangements for paying your rent. Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure your rent is paid on time.
If you’re liable for Council Tax, you should also advise the Council’s Benefit Services as you could be eligible for Council Tax Reduction.