The following post has been provided by the Money Advice Service who provide free and unbiased, independent advice on a wide range of money topics including Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is a new type of financial support for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. It’s replacing Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, tax credits and Housing Benefit, and it’s being introduced between April 2013 and 2017.
2013 also sees other big changes to the benefits system. There are cuts to Housing Benefit for people whose benefits are over a certain level, Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment, and parts of the Social Fund are being replaced by local support.
April 2013 – October 2013
If you’re newly out-of-work and living in selected trial areas of the North-West of England you may be asked to claim Universal Credit rather than Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If you’re already claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance you should continue to do so as normal. You’ll be told when to claim Universal Credit instead.
You may be asked to claim Universal Credit rather than Jobseeker’s Allowanceif you’re newly out-of-work and living in:
- Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Harrogate, Bath orShotton (Wales), and your local Jobcentre has been selected for the Universal Credit trial
- an existing Universal Credit trial area inthe North-West of England
2014 – 2017
Between 2014 and 2017 more and more people will be asked to claim Universal Credit rather than Jobseeker’s Allowance when they become unemployed.This is going to be a gradual process. Not everyone making a new claim will be put onto Universal Credit straight away.
If you’re already getting any of the benefits or tax credits that are being phased out, thenyou’ll be gradually moved onto Universal Credit during this period too.
If you live in Northern Ireland you’ll be asked to claim Universal Credit from April 2014 onwards.
Other benefit changes that may affect you
The benefit cap
If you’re aged 16 to 64, there will be a limit put on the total amount of benefit you can get. This is called a benefit cap and is set at £500 a week for families and couples, or £350 a week for single people. It’s being introduced gradually between April and September 2013.
Disability Living Allowance being replaced
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) between April 2013 and October 2017. The change only applies if you are aged between 16 and 64.
If you’re already getting Disability Living Allowance you should qualify for Personal Independence Payment. However, it’s possible that you might be entitled to a higher or lower rate of payment, or that you won’t be entitled to anything.
Changes to the Social Fund
Budgeting Advances are replacing Social Fund Budgeting Loans for people claiming Universal Credit from April 2013 onwards.
Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants were abolished in April 2013 and have been replaced by help from your local authority in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
Benefit changes timeline
This content has been provided by the Money Advice Service who provide free and unbiased, independent advice on a wide range of money topics including Universal Credit.