Below are a number of frequently asked questions about Universal Credit. These are collated based on feedback on the calculator and other posts on the blog. If you have questions, or see something that is missing or unclear in the blog below, please post your comments at the bottom of this page.

If you are looking for the answer to a question, use ctrl+f to see if it has already been answered.

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Universal Credit set for a nationwide rollout in 2015

262 Comments. Leave new

  • Ita Gerrard
    August 10, 2020 11:36

    Hi i have recently been refered to a long term unemployed course with people plus from my advisor, now this starts on 24th aug for 5 weeks, the thing is im going on holiday abroad on the 10 sept for 2 weeks (bf surprised me) will this effect my UC payment as i wont be attending the course for them 2 weeks? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:09

      Hello,

      If it is part of your conditionality contract for Universal Credit then holidays are not taken into account. In other words, you may lose your Universal Credit for the two weeks you are on holiday as the training is part of your conditionality contract. Work coaches have a lot of discretion in these areas and you should discuss this with your work coach to make sure that the implications are clear to you.

      I wish you the best of luck.

      Reply
  • Sophie Hall
    August 2, 2020 20:30

    My Partner is due to go work away from home, in the military (within the UK) in September for 7 months. Should we still be claiming as a couple then or should I move my claim over to a single person for the time he is away?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:20

      Hi Sophie,

      In general, if your partner is planning to be away for more than 6 months you are not treated as a couple for the period of absence.

      You will need to let UC know your situation.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • Hi
    I am due to start university in September. I will be leaving my job on August 4th to allow me 3 weeks for advance reading and to allow me time to sort childcare, give me chance to get supplies etc will I be sanctioned for this as I have a reason to quit, that being to go into full time education.

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:22

      Hi Natasha,

      You may well be sanctioned, or your UC ended, as you will not be able to meet your conditionality contract. You should discuss your requirements with your work coach as they may be willing to move you to a different conditionality regime whilst you prepare for education.

      Whether they do so, will depend on the work coach. They may be willing to accept part-time work for this period. However, you need to show that you have a good reason to leave your job and the decision on whether this condition is met rests with your work coach.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of further assistance.

      Wishing you the best of luck.

      Reply
  • Hello I have qweshion,if you can answer me please. I have 2 children’s under 16 and thy getting child entitlement by universal credit ( with is child tax credit) and baysicly all of this money universal credit taking of them and not paying out…is this is right ore thy making some mistake and have to pay children’s money in full payment ??can you please email me and help me on this qweshion ??

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:23

      Hi,

      If you are in receipt of Universal Credit this should include an amount for each of your children.

      The amount is the same as under Child Tax Credits. Your journal will give a breakdown of your award. If this doesn’t include an amount for your children you should contact the DWP to get this corrected.

      Good luck.

      Reply
  • Hi Jo
    I claimed UC on the 11th June. I got an answer with regards to my leave to remain in the U.K.
    I then called , this was the 15th June, and was advised to ask for a mandatory reconsideration. I did so got a replied it’s passed on and some will call. I’ve heard nothing since. On my UC page it say your statement will be available on 13 July, which is today. There’s nothing in my journal , I’ve checked. What do I do next.

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:30

      Hi,

      I am sorry about your situation. You will need to keep following this up with the DWP until you get a decision. Unfortunately, decisions about the Habitual Residency Test can take a long time. Your council may be able to signpost you to emergency funding in the meantime.

      I wish you all the best.

      Reply
  • Hi the first assessment is already made and my UC is due on 14th July. Today on 11 July I received a call from my employer asking me to increase my working hours for next week I obviously said yes. I have added this change of circumstances in my journal. Will this affect my first payment?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:31

      Hi,

      Your Universal Credit will be based on the income received into your bank for that first month. If payment for the increased hours is in your next assessment period it will not affect your first payment.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • Pooja Almeida
    July 12, 2020 01:03

    Hello me and and husband have applied for join UC on 1 June on 10 July we received our statement and payment is due on 14 july. My employer today called me up and has increased my working hours and I have accepted to that.. Will our first payment be affected or this will reflect in the next payment?

    Reply
  • Hi, a year ago I split up with my partner and been living with my parents and my young son. I have been working part time. Meanwhile, I have taken opportunity to study for a career change and I’m looking for a new job. I have found a job (early interview stages) in London 1.5h drive away from my current home however I wouldn’t be able to sustain housing costs even on UC in London so I thought I could still live with parents (as it’s minimum rent) and drive (3days only, 2 a remote) and take my son to nursery near work. Even with travel it works out better then us moving to London. Would this be an issue with UC that I work and my son goes to nursery so far from home?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:32

      Hi Anna,

      No this won’t be an issue. You will need to get proof of payment of childcare in order to claim this back through Universal Credit but it does not matter where your childcare is, as long as it is an approved childcare provider.

      Good luck with your new job.

      Reply
  • Hi

    I am moving away from my rented property in London end of July and claiming universal credit as i wasn’t put on furlough as i started my job on the 16th March 2020 and my employer couldn’t put me on furlough and i am moving to Scotland to my property which i own and pay a mortgage. I will be looking for a job when i go up to Scotland end of July. I work in a hotel and my employer in London hasnt contacted me if i will return to work this month as it will be a slow start until everything goes back to normal.

    Would i still be able to claim universal credit or any other benefits?

    Thank you so much and look forward to hearing from you

    Martina

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:33

      Hi Martina,

      You can claim Universal Credit even if you own your property but UC does not include help with mortgage payments until you have received it for 9 months.

      However, you should get support for yourself and any children.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • If I’m self employed, how do I put aside 20% of my income so that I can pay my tax when it’s due, when all of my income gets deducted from my UC every month leaving me with nothing?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:36

      Hi Jen,

      If your income is low enough to receive Universal Credit then you may not need to pay tax for this period. You can also defer tax payments if you have been affected by the economic downturn due to Covid-19.

      It may be worth discussing this with HMRC so that you can be aware of any liability and your options for deferral.

      I wish you all the best.

      Reply
  • Natalia Gnipova
    June 18, 2020 19:44

    Hello, I have recently split up with my partner. I will fill out change of circumstances on my UC account. I would like to know the process of it. Will they just simply remove him from my account or? Do I need to send some documents too, i.e. his new address?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:37

      Hi Natalia,

      In general, the DWP will take your word for the change, particularly if your partner makes a claim in their own right at another address. however, to be certain you should ensure that their name is removed from any utility bills etc as the DWP sometimes use credit agencies to check who lives at a property.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • I’m currently on maternity leave and claiming universal credit. If I chose to take the full 12 months will universal credit still pay me for the last 3 months even though I’m not getting any SMP

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 09:39

      Hi Tanya,

      Yes, your universal credit will increase but your household income will not be as high as your SMP is treated as earnings so you retain 37% of it and your Universal Credit is reduced by 67% of your SMP. But the ending of SMP will not affect your Universal Credit entitlement so you will just get a slightly reduced amount.

      As you will have a child under 1 year, Universal Credit will not expect you to work.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • Hello

    I have been on Universal Credit for over a year now with Limited Capacity for Work and Work related Activities. I sometimes work supply in my local school as an assistant and that’s been absolutely fine regarding UC.
    My question is I want to invest some money I have into some stocks and shares (not in ISA) but do not know how to go about this with UC, do I need to tell them I have invested some money, do I report any profits as self employed etc etc.

    I just dont want to unintentionally put myself into a worse position and risk my benefits.

    Thank you very much for reading

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 11:00

      Hi Andrew,

      If you invest in stocks and shares you may need to inform the DWP of this. Under Universal Credit stocks and shares will be treated as a form of savings (also sometimes called capital), so it will depend on whether your total savings value is over £6,000 as to whether this affects your claim. If your savings are between £6,000 and £16,000, every £250 of savings over £6,000 will be treated as giving you an income of £4.35. If your total savings are over £16,000 you will no longer be eligible for Universal Credit.

      You can use our free calculator to see how your savings will impact your eligibility – the income and earnings tab has a section where you can enter your total savings: http://betteroffcalculator.co.uk/free

      You can also read more about how savings would impact your claim here: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit-income-and-capital/Capital-Savings#guide-content It may also be that the money you are planning to invest is already classed as savings – if the DWP are already aware of these savings investing them may not make any impact as they’re already taken into account, but if they’re not you may need to register a change if circumstance to update them on your savings: https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • Hello !

    I’ve recently signed up for universal credit as self employed.

    I’m curious how it works with going abroad. I’m aware that i would still be getting UC if i’m away for up to 4 weeks. I’m wondering if I could go away for 4 weeks, then come back to UK for a week and go away again? Would I then still be eligible for universal credit if i went back and forth like that? I would be working the whole time i’m traveling.

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      May 21, 2020 14:33

      Hi Sev,

      You can leave the country, but you will need to inform the office that pays your benefit that you are going abroad each time you go, even if it is just for a visit, or you will be committing benefit fraud. You should contact your case manager or work coach to see if your entitlement will be affected by your travels.

      Take care.

      Reply
  • Hello.
    My savings now are less then £6000. How I can raport it to Universal Credit?

    Reply
  • hi i am single and claim uc i also claim for my 19 year old daughter who is in college more than 12 hours a week if she works part time will it affect my claim for her thanks

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      May 18, 2020 09:20

      Hi Belinda,

      As your daughter is under 21, no deduction from your UC award will be made if she moves into work.

      All the best.

      Reply
  • Hello I’ve recently started claiming Uc on my own husband comes and goes as he pleases don’t see him for weeks etc he comes when he fancy’s seeing his daughter he’s not paid bills in my house for over twelve months I’ve literally relied on family to help me to cut a long story short I had a breakdown family paid my bills etc now I’ve got universal credit but there asking if I’ve had a partner in the last 12 months don’t get it I told them everything I just don’t get why there asking about him I’m just getting well again after being diagnosed with skin cancer on top of the breakdown I really don’t need all this stress I know nothing about him I don’t know if he works where he stays nothing

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      May 7, 2020 09:08

      Hi Jo,

      I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the rules around Universal Credit and whether you’ll be treated as a single adult or a member of a couple are complex. If you and your husband have permanently separated, or if he’s away for a period of 6 months or longer, you will usually be treated as a single adult. Otherwise, you are likely to be treated as a couple. I would recommend getting some specialist advice from citizens advice – you can find your nearest centre here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/

      Best wishes.

      Reply
    • Fran leek
      May 30, 2020 20:19

      Hiya,

      Me and my partner have just split up.. we have a mortgage together and a son.. our original claim was as couples, now We have split I now live at my mums and he remains in the home what is mortgaged..
      will this effect my claim as this would be classed as a financial link?
      Thanks

      Reply
      • Alannah McGhee
        July 6, 2020 17:53

        Hi Fran,

        If you are currently claiming benefits such as Universal Credit or Tax Credits, you will need to let them know about this change of circumstances.

        If you are claiming Universal Credit for the first time, you can make your claim as a single person even though you have a shared mortgage. The value of your shared property will be ignored for the first six months after you left the house- ie, it will not be counted as savings. It will continue to be ignored as long as your former partner is living their as a single parentwith your son. However, if your partner moves out, after six months your share of the property will be treated as savings and will affect your Universal Credit. Since this is quite a complicated area, I would recommend getting in touch with Citizens Advice who can discuss this with you in detail: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/

        All the best.

        Reply
  • Hello,
    I have taken out a loan years ago for a friend who was paying it back monthly and now she’s able to pay it off but it’s over £7000. She will send the money and I pay the loan off on the same day. Do I need to tell someone about it and will it affect UC even if it’s not my money, just a loan and won’t be on my account for long?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      May 14, 2020 09:49

      Hi Anna,

      Universal Credit is assessed on the basis of the income you receive each month, so the money you receive from your friend will be a part of this assessment unfortunately. I would recommend that you speak with DWP about this and write it in your journal if you have already made a claim for Universal Credit.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • I have worked in my job for 9 years. I work 25 hours and receive universal credit. I have 3 young kind age 3, 2 and 1 and I am now a single parent. I am due back at work after maternity leave, but I am now taking a career break (unpaid leave) for 2 years (my job will be kept for me) to look after my kids, as I can’t afford childcare (universal childcare payments doesn’t cover the cost and it eats into most off my wage). Working isn’t an option.
    What will happen with regards to universal credit? Technically I still have a job, so no need to look for one. I technically have no money coming in so need universal credit to top me up. What will happen?

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      May 11, 2020 10:42

      Hi Terrie,

      You can still claim Universal Credit while on unpaid leave, but the decision to take unpaid leave could change the steps you are expected to take in terms of employment in the longer term (I have answered a similar question from Dee on this page, on April 30, that you might find useful: https://policyinpractice.co.uk/your-income-and-coronavirus-covid-19/#comment-113459 ).

      In the short term (and specifically for 3 months from 30 March 2020), work-related requirements have been eased due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This means that there should not be a work search requirement imposed about you over this period and that you won’t be expected to search or take up paid work during this time.

      I hope this helps and best wishes.

      Reply
  • Hello, I am married with 2 young children but we have separated in the end of January. We are still married and living in the same house but we separated bank accounts and do everything separately. I aplied for UC and my claim was accepted as a single person and main carer of the children, and I stated him as a joint tenant. They now asked my income from 12 months before and I had to include my his income until January. I stated only my low earnings from February when we separated. My question is if I am doing everything correctly. I never applied for UC before and because we live together (as joint tenants and not couple anymore), I keep thinking if I have to prove to UC anything else? I don’t want to do anything wrong. Obviously now he stopped looking for a place to stay, so we have to continue share the same house. Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Alannah McGhee
      August 19, 2020 10:55

      Hi,

      Universal Credit often looks at previous accounts to verify savings etc. You are in a tricky position as DWP have to be convinced you are no longer living as a couple and with your partner still in the property this will be difficult to prove. Given the circumstances, the DWP may choose to view you as a couple, in which case your partner’s earnings will be taken into account.

      If you are separated, you may need to ask for a reconsideration and try to prove that your lives are now separate. You may find that Citizens Advice can assist you if you need to go down this route.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  • Hi . I recently fled a do.estic violence marriage with my four children. I work but needed to claim universal credit to top up wages. I then recieved 2500 in capital from sale of marital home. However whilst in the marriage my husband racked up debt of £10000 which I cleared. My mum had loaned me £9000 to set up new home carpets etc and to help fund us towards end as my husband wasnt working. I’ve now been called for interview . Presumably my ex husband reported I had this money . Will I be ok if I show I cleared debts so was never mine anyway

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      March 24, 2020 12:16

      Hi Kelly,

      The most important thing is to discuss this with your work coach and let them know of any changes that have taken place since you completed the application. You can also ask them to clarify any queries about your savings.They will be best placed to advise you on your next steps, for example if your claim needs to be re-assessed.

      If your claim does need to be re-assessed, this could delay your first payment, but there are ways that can help manage this period. One way is to ask your work coach for an ‘advance’ payment (though note that you will need to pay this back via reductions from your future UC benefit). Another way is to check whether you can claim support via a grant here: https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk/. These typically do not have to be paid back.

      Since your savings are over £6,000 but less than £16,000, you are still eligible for Universal Credit. However, some of your savings will be considered as income for the purposes of calculating your Universal Credit: for every £250 above £6,000 your income for the purposes of calculating UC will increase by £1 per week. Your work coach should be able to explain this to you in more detail.

      I hope this helps clarify things a bit.

      All the best,
      Fabiana

      Reply
  • Hi there,
    I understand my own savings would affect the Universal Credit I’m entitled to but would any savings my children have also be taken into account as ‘accessible money’? Their grandmother has given them each an early inheritance gift over £16k. Technically I have access to it as they’re only children but it was not what my mum had intended for it. Are children’s savings included? Thanks

    Reply
    • Claudia Varney
      March 5, 2020 12:54

      Hello Katcha. Regarding the savings for your children, this would depend on what kind of access you have to this money. A child’s capital could be taken into account if you can access it or if it has ever been used for your benefit. It can also be taken into account if the DWP think you put it into a child’s account in order to qualify for benefits.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    I am currently on Maternity Leave that terminates 07/03 but my last payment will be 09/03 as it is Monday.
    When exactly can I apply for UC?
    And one more question, If I will go for the jobcentre interview and bring them my bank statement from which date canthe statement be? E.g. 09/03?
    Thank you very much for the advice in advance.

    Reply
    • Claudia Varney
      March 5, 2020 12:55

      Hello Mira,
      You can use the Benefits and Budgeting Calculator to see your Universal Credit entitlement when your maternity leave ends. If you need practical advice, you can look up your local Citizens Advice Bureau here. It is important to keep in mind there is a five week wait for Universal Credit, so the best advice is to apply as soon as possible. You will need to bring a recent bank statement with you to the jobcentre interview.

      Reply
  • Hi,
    Does a property I own as a trust for my grandchildren count as a property with regard to me getting universal credits?

    Reply
    • Claudia Varney
      March 5, 2020 12:56

      Hello Joe. This would depend on the way the trust was set up. Discretionary trusts are not considered to be capital, but non discretionary trusts would, as you can obtain the trust from the trustee at any time. Properties you bought on behalf of someone else can be disregarded if someone other than you is paying the mortgage. If you need further advice, you can look up your local Citizens Advice Bureau here. Hopefully you can get the answer you need!

      Reply
  • Me and my partner split up and I began a claim for universal credit, 3 and a half weeks into the assessment period we got back together and I cancelled my claim will I receive any money the 3 week period

    Reply
    • Duncan Hatfield
      February 10, 2020 15:21

      Hi Hannah. Any change in circumstance during an assessment period will be taken into account for that month, which in effect means your situation at the end of the assessment period is what determines your eligibility for Universal Credit. So if your claim were still live it would be judged based on you and your partner’s income at the end of the period (assuming you now both live in the same household and therefore meet the DWP’s definition of in a couple). As you have cancelled your claim, you will not receive any money from your claim for the three weeks.

      Reply
  • Hi
    I’m currently on UC. I split from my partner dec2019. I moved In with my parents and have my kids with me too. I’m also my mums carer as she needs help. UC messaged me asking that there have been gaps in my employment and if I had a partner and his earnings. I was previously a carer for his dad. And his wages meant I couldn’t apply for any other benefits. Why are they asking me all this. Isit because of the gaps??? Because they did ask me in the interview what I was doing before ????

    Reply
    • Duncan Hatfield
      February 10, 2020 14:32

      Hi. Without knowing the specifics of your case it’s difficult to say precisely why they might be asking. In general, a partner’s income is taken into account in assessing UC eligibility, so they would need to know if you did or did not have a partner. However, as you’re no longer with your partner, they should no longer take his income into account, so make sure that they’re aware of this. Additionally, make sure to keep updating DWP with any other changes in your circumstances such as your move in with your parents or your caring for your mum, as these could also change the amount you’re entitled to. To get a bit more guidance on the specifics of your case and why they might be asking about this, you could get in touch with your local Citizens Advice: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/

      Reply
  • Hi, I am a single parent on universal credits. I am going to going to receive a lump sum of compensation soon for an injury I had at work 5 years ago. How will this affect my universal credit?
    I intend to use it to pay off debt and buy white goods/ household items to improve our lives if that makes any difference.

    Many thanks

    Reply
    • George Sanderson
      December 20, 2019 14:06

      Hi Sarah,

      Hi Sarah,

      For the month in which you receive the compensation your universal credit award is likely to drop. Without knowing the specifics I could not tell you by how much. However, in the following months your Universal Credit award will return to its pre-compensation amount. It could be possible that your compensation is large enough that you do not receive
      Universal Credit at all for that month. If this is the case I would strongly advise you to inform the DWP that in the following months your income will not be this level to ensure you receive future Universal Credit payments.

      It is also worth noting that if this takes your savings over £16,000 then you will no longer be eligible for Universal Credit.

      In relation to how the compensation will be spent, the DWP prefer it if capital is not intentionally diminished. I would advise speaking to your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

      Kind regards,
      George

      Reply
  • Hi there I recently split with my husband in December and I had to switch from tax credits to universal credit I have just received a message asking for my income and his income from November 2018 until September 2019 when we split why would they want his income?

    Reply
    • George Sanderson
      December 20, 2019 14:07

      Hi Sibohan,

      It is likely that the DWP is trying to calculate your household income for the year 2018-2019 when your partner was still part of your household. If your partner still lives at the property and you are not estranged then their income will still be taken into account when your Universal Credit award is calculated.

      If you and your partner no longer live together you also must inform the DWP of this change in circumstances.

      Kind regards,
      George

      Reply
  • Hi, if I have a daughter aged 18 who is in full-time education and works part-time 8 hrs a week on weekends, will there be non-dependent deductions under housing costs

    Reply
    • George Sanderson
      December 20, 2019 14:08

      Hi Sam,

      As your daughter is in full-time education, she is still considered a dependant child. Therefore, their income would not be included and you won’t face any non-dependant deductions from your housing costs.

      Best wishes,
      George

      Reply
  • Hi, I have recently made a new claim for uc I have today been able to see my statement online. It says it’s only giving half of my rent amount as my ex partner name is on the tenancy still. He’s being completely awkward and not helping me out with removing his name I can not see that hes going to pay the other half when hes not here. Where do I stand with this? Thanks

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      December 20, 2019 10:28

      Hi Sam. Thanks for your query. You can challenge the decision that was made
      about whether your claim for Universal Credit should be on a ‘single’ basis or ‘cohabiting’ basis. There is nothing in the regulations to say that having another person’s name on a letter is enough information to prove that two people are living together. The DWP can use their discretion and treat you as liable for the full rent.

      You can get in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau if you would like some help with challenging this decision. You can find your nearest office here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/search-for-your-local-citizens-advice/. Best wishes, Fabiana

      Reply
  • I have a 20 month old I work my partner is currently not working due to a back injury he still has to go Jon center for appointments dragging our baby along in this weather he is her sole carer as I work but there saying that he has still gotta go Jon center til he finds a job why ain’t they treating him like they should a mother who doesn’t work

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      December 20, 2019 10:29

      Hi Lyndsey. Thanks for your query. Your question relates to the ‘work-related requirements’ that go with receiving certain benefits. There are two parts to your question, both about situations where you people are not required to look for work.

      The first point relates to your partner looking after a child – you’re right that the main person looking after a child does not need to attend the Jobcentre, but this is only the case when the child is under 12 months old. If the child is aged 1-2, he will be expected to attend the Jobcentre to prepare for a future move into work, for example by attending work-focused interview. He will not be expected to be actively looking for work until the child is aged 3.

      The second point relates to your partner and the nature of his injury. Sickness and injury can mean that you don’t need to look for work. However, this is only the case if the DWP decides that he has ‘Limited capability for work’ or ‘Limited capability for work-related activity’. Usually, they make this decision after you fill out a form explaining how your illness or disability affects your ability to work. If he has not done so already, he should tell his ‘work coach’ at the Jobcentre about his injury. There is more information about this on the Citizens Advice website: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/claiming/getting-universal-credit-if-youre-sick-or-disabled/.

      Best wishes, Fabiana

      Reply
  • melissa murray
    November 8, 2019 13:56

    I’m receiving UC since July. I’m on mat leave since January and went on UC in July to cover the drop in my wages, I’ve had a message on my UC account today asking for my earning 10 months prior to me applying for UC and asking if there were any gaps in my employment during that time, which there weren’t. They also asked if I was living with a partner in the 10 months before I claimed for UC. He was at his dads and on UC by himself then. Now we are living together on a joint UC claim. Why are they asking me these random questions about a time before I was ever claiming?

    Reply
  • Me nor my partner have ever been on any form of benefit as my salary alone took us over the threshold. After the birth of our first child we took the decision that he would stay at home with our daughter most of the week as child care costs were too high (and my salary was more than double his). Last year he decided to start a postgraduate degree (he was only required to go to university one day a week) so I condensed my hours down and with some help from family covered our daughters childcare allowing him to study and look after our daughter. He continued to work one day a week in his very low paid job (it brings in less than £300). Not long after he started the course however I got pregnant with our second child. Our second child was born in June and I am currently on maternity leave, my partners course has just finished (meaning he no longer a student – we were getting some income for student loans / and the universities discretionary fund – neither are ‘taxable’). Our household income has dropped dramatically, I get Statutory Mat Pay plus around 20% of salary in Occupational Pay. My partner cannot get extra hours at work (due to them requiring a long term commitment which he can’t give bu they are happy to continue with the one day a week). So I am due to return to work in January full-time after six months off and he will continue to stay at home with the kids.

    According to the online calculators we are currently eligible for Universal Credit – my question is, as I am currently off work on mat leave will my partner be required to look for work in the meantime? It seems pointless as he would have to quit in January (and I doubt many people would take him on and he would possibly have to leave his other job). On the application for UC we have marked him as the main carer, as that’s what he is, so could I be asked to return to work before 6 months? I am exclusively breastfeeding and to be honest I would that rather be totally skint that give up precious time with my baby. We have interviews at the job centre with ‘work coaches’ but technically I have a job and partner is a stay at home dad (our kids are 3 months and 2 year olds) and I know that when my salary goes back to normal we will be no longer be eligible for any benefits.

    Has anyone been in a similar situation? Not sure how it all works – grateful for any insight or advice!

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:23

      Hi MD, if you are receiving SMP that is counted as earnings so you wont be expected to look for your work. As your other child is under 3 your husband can be counted as the main carer. If you explain the circumstances to DWP they should take this into account

      Reply
  • Glover, Amy
    August 26, 2019 06:10

    Hi I currently work 18 hrs and I have to pay for child care.
    Which is 652.50 a month and uc are paying 312 towards is this right ??
    Aswell being paid 898.. from uc. I have 3 kids and after paying all my bills ect I’m left with 200 pound and that’s not even covering my food costs

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:19

      Hi Amy, that doesnt sound right. UC can pay a maximum of £646.35 per month for one child or a maximum of £1108.04 per month for 2 or more children. You need to contact UC urgently about this. You will need to have proof of your childcare costs and submit these each month. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Hi, me and my partner currently make a joint claim and receive UC. I am currently on paid maternity leave but wish to take the full 12 months off which means 3 months will be unpaid. Will I still receive UC for the 3 unpaid months? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:12

      Hi Nathalie, yes you will. UC will take no income in respect of you for those 3 months. They may ask you to have a discussion about your work situation to ensure that you are prepared to return to work. But should take account of the fact that you are on unpaid maternity leave.

      Reply
  • Me and my partner are planning to have a baby next year and I would not be returning to work due to childcare costs being ridiculous. Will UC take into consideration our outgoing monthly spending on bills, or would it just be rent?

    Reply
  • Hustler Hunt
    July 17, 2019 21:32

    Does child savings account affect capital for UC?

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:07

      Hi, generally a childs capital can be taken into account if you can access it or if it has ever been used for your benefit. It can also be taken into account if the DWP think you put it into a childs account in order to qualify for benefits. I hope this helps

      Reply
  • I have been asked to confirm my earnings for 8 months BEFORE claiming UC, why is that? And also i was with a partner at that time, so it was combined earnings, will that effect my current UC? I started claiming UC after we split.

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:03

      i Haych, this is unusual, I am not sure why you have been asked for this. It may be that they were making an assessment on whether you were still in a partnership or not. I would ask DWP why they needed this information, if you cannot get a reply, the CAB might be able to assist you in getting an answer. Im sorry I cant be more helpful on this

      Reply
  • Universal Credit have asked me for my income for the 8 months BEFORE claiming Universal Credit, why is that? And also i was with a partner before claiming UC (8 months before claiming UC) so had to put down both of our incomes, will that affect my upcoming UC payment?

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:03

      Hi Haych, this is unusual, I am not sure why you have been asked for this. It may be that they were making an assessment on whether you were still in a partnership or not. I would ask DWP why they needed this information, if you cannot get a reply, the CAB might be able to assist you in getting an answer. Im sorry I cant be more helpful on this

      Reply
  • Hi, I am currently claiming UC and have struggle with capital assessment. since our kids were born we put their child benefit into separate account (as a additional account to my partners basic account). there was no problem with tax benefits but when we apply for uc they said that it is our capital. they said that it was given to us, so it’s our capital. we decide to open a new account in our sons name (but he’s just 6, so my partner is named as a trustee),money was transferred so we don’t have it, but they still say it’s our capital. how can we save money for our kids that will not be considered as our capital??

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:00

      Hi Kate, the capital rules are different under Universal Credit. If capital belongs to a child it is generally not taken into account for assessment purposes if you cannot access it. However it is presumed to be your capital if the DWP believe you moved it to take account of the benefits system.

      Reply
  • Hello,
    Me, my girlfriend and our son are living in two bedroom apartment and are claiming UC housing benefit. We have just renewed our tenancy and she decided to move back to her home country so our son can start nursery there. I would have to stay here in this flat alone until I can legally terminate the rent agreement. Would I still be eligible for UC housing benefit if I’m living alone in 2 bedroom flat?

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 20:58

      Hi Matiss, the housing element of your UC is based on the Local Housing Allowance for your area. With your wife and sone you would be allowed the allowance for a 2 bed property. This will differ if you are under 35 and are now single as the limit will be based on a room in a shared house. If you are over 35 it will be based on a 1 bed flat. Depending on other income you have you may still qualify for some report but this may be reduced. You can use our calculator at https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/#/calculator/new/step1 to see if you will still qualify.

      Reply
  • Hi there,
    I am currently getting child and working tax credits as a single parent with 2 children. However I have over £16k savings from my husband’s life insurance as he passed away Sept 2017. I would like to be able to keep a decent amount set aside for each child to see them through driving lessons, uni, etc – they are only 6 and 10 at the moment. I don’t want to put it in a junior ISA as I would prefer that they don’t have it all at 18yrs.

    It seems that as and when I am “migrated” across to UC, it will be disregarded for 12 months and will then knock me out of entitlement. I only work part time and will really struggle without the help of tax credits or UC topping up my salary.

    Please can you advise whether I have any options available to me? I am very wary as I work in Council Tax Support myself and do not want to risk any action regarding my savings being thought of as deprivation of capital.
    Thank you in advance for any guidance.
    Rachel

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 20:53

      Hi Rachel, this is really tricky. You can use your capital for reasonable expenses or for paying off debt or mortgage. Otherwise, it will be taken into account after 12 months on Universal Credit and you will not be eligible for support. If the capital belongs to your child (ie you cannot access it), it may not be taken into account. However, if UC think that you did this to increase your benefit entitlement they can take into account as your capital even though you cant get to it. You may not be migrated over to UC for some time so you could consider using the capital for mortgage or debt if you have any. You could also consider transferring it to your children as long as you can justify this (ie that it was a long term plan to secure their future). I think it may be worth talking to your local CAB about this to go through the options. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Hi me and my partner get wtc and ctc and are thinking of going over to uc! I work 9 hours he. Works 30 our youngest child is 4 will I have to go to work meetings to look for more work?

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 20:42

      Hi Vicky, You can use our calculator at https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/#/calculator/new/step1 to see if you would be better off on Universal Credit. If you would be better off on working tax credits you can claim that instead as you already get child tax credit. If you move to UC you may be expected to undertake some work preparation but any work preparation you are asked to take part in must be reasonable, improve your chances of finding work, and take into account your individual circumstances. If your individual circumstances are that you need to be with your child due to school times etc, the DWP need to take this into account. The amount you are expected to work should be set on an individual basis to fit around caring responsibilities.

      Reply
  • Jane Wakefield
    May 16, 2019 22:21

    Hi am on universal credit my daughter is 18 and now in full time work . How does this affect my universal credit .

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      May 20, 2019 14:42

      Hi Jane,

      Since your daughter is 18 and in full time work, you will not be eligible for the child element of Universal Credit. Your other elements of Universal Credit will be unaffected. However, when your daughter turns 21, your housing element of Universal Credit will be reduced because a ‘non-dependant deduction’ will be applied.

      Kind regards,
      Louise

      Reply
  • Hello,
    Hoping for some advice. My husband and I are divorcing and I am hoping to remain in my home with my 2 small children. My mortgage lender will not allow me to take on the mortgage alone and therefore I have made enquiries about a parent replacing my husband on the mortgage, although they will not make any financial contributions whatsoever. Although I will be living alone in the property with my children, would I be rejected for Universal credit because an additional person’s name appears on the mortgage?
    Thank you
    Rachel

    Reply
  • simon shemilt
    March 13, 2019 14:41

    I have been in dispute with UC since Nov 18, regarding conflict between RTI and self-reported earnings. My wifes employer didn’t issue RTI for 5 months – which I had to self-report. The RTI then all came through in a single month – wiping out our UC for that month and the following month (due to their surplus / carry-over rules). I now understand their rules, and provided a calculation to prove it – they have continually got it wrong (multiple people / departments). The latest instalment, issued by the Complaints Department, is now telling me, that whilst I had self-reported each month – 2 of these months had not taken in to account the self-reported earnings, so we were effectively over paid for those 2 months. However, I know that the RTI MUST be used in the month it is received, except when already taken into account (ie the first 3 months used self-reported earnings). The 2 months I reported but UC didn’t use, were June / July 18, and it all came to a head in October 18 when the 5 months all came through together. With UC not being able to get it sorted, now in March 19, I am told that 9 months after reporting self-earnings due to RTI issues, they are going to take these retrospectively for June / July, rather than in October 18, when they received the RTI. My view is that they should take the RTI into account for October 18, when it was received, as the self-reported earnings for the 2 months were not previous taken into account. This technicality means approx. £600 more in overpayments. The complaints department, say they can use the fact that as I did the right thing and self-report (even though UC didn’t actually register or process this information in a timely manner) they can use it now against me to increase the amount of overpayment. I believe this is morally wrong, but also that they should be using the accurate RTI received by them in October, rather than the unsubstantiated self-reported earnings – they have now “found” 9 months after reporting, and 5 months after receiving the accurate RTI. Help.

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      May 20, 2019 15:44

      Hi Simon,

      I’m so sorry to hear about this. I would recommend getting in touch with your local Citizens Advice Bureau – they may be able to escalate this for you.

      I hope they can help, and do let us know how you get on.

      Kind regards,
      Louise

      Reply
  • Hi,

    I am recently divorced and have moved out of the martial (jointly owned) home into a rented property with my 2 children and my current partner. Thenhome which is jointly owned by myself and my ex husband is currently occupied by my ex who has the children to stay a few nights a week. The house is up for sale with a substantial amount of equity in the property but obviously I cannot access this cash until the house is sold.

    I have just become a student nurse and to host the household income I was advised that I could apply for UC. Upon checking the criteria I can across a clause that states if you own a property other than the one you live in, you cannot make a claim. However if they also state that if your ex partner lives in the property and is a single parent then you can claim. It also says it disregards capital from a property sale for a period of 6 months post sale. Upon trying to complete the application form, I become stuck at the point where it asks if I own another property, asks the values and mortgage amount then tells me I cannot apply. I have called the helpline and no one seems to know the rules. I have been advised by UC helpline to tick NO to the owning another property than the one I live in question which I am reluctant to do as this is not true. Can someone please advise how I should deal with this. I am not receiving any income from my owned property, in fact it is costing me in upkeep whilst it is up for sale.

    Reply
  • My ex and I have rece tly split up. She has put a UC claim in and I have moved out of the family home. She said today that the UC people have asked for my income. Why is that needed since it is a sole claim in her name?

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:39

      Hi Mick, I am not sure why they would ask this. I would suggest that your wife ensures that DWP understand the situation and provide them with the information they require. If they accept you are separated then your income will not be taken into account. If you pay child maintenance, this is also ignored for benefit purposes.

      Reply
  • Michelle Williams
    February 1, 2019 12:04

    I’m currently on UC i have 2 children and I’m pregnant with my 3rd. I work part time but my hours are so up and down at the moment with some weeks me earning nothing. Will I be entitled to any maternity payments or help whilst pregnant. I work for an agency so I’m unsure what entitlements this gives me. If your on UC can you apply for the maternity grant I’m a single parent my 2 older children are from my other relationship.

    Reply
    • Louise Murphy
      May 20, 2019 16:00

      Hi Michelle,

      You will be eligible for either Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Maternity Allowance. You can check the eligibility criteria for SMP by clicking here. If you are not eligible for SMP, you will be eligible for Maternity Allowance instead. You can claim Maternity Allowance once you’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks, and payments can start 11 weeks before your baby is due. You can find out more about Maternity Allowance by clicking here.

      You may also qualify for a Sure Start Maternity Grant – this is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. You can find out more by clicking on this link.

      You can still claim Universal Credit whilst receiving these payments, however your Universal Credit award will be reduced once these payments are taken into account. SMP is classed as ‘earnings’: this means that only some of the payment is taken into account. However, Maternity Allowance is classed as ‘income’ rather than ‘earnings’, and so the full payment is taken into account.

      I hope this helps clarify things.

      Kind regards,
      Louise

      Reply
  • Hello

    is it possible to unlink our couples universal credit joint accounts because we’ve separated even though my partner’s interview assessment hasn’t been fully finished yet? so what is the best step to take in this situation? Thank you

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 21:46

      Hi Ama, both you and your partner should enter this in your journal including the date of separation. Your UC will be based on the circumstances on the day before the end of your assessment period. This means that you could be treated as separated for the whole of the assessment period in which you separated. You should inform DWP as soon as possible.

      Reply
  • I’m on UC and I help look after my daughter when her Mam is at work, we are not together and living separately, I’m still expected to look for work for up to 35 hours per week, what can I do about getting that lowered

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      January 16, 2019 09:42

      Hi Darren

      Thank you for your question. Unless you are the primary carer for your daughter, it is unlikely that this will be lowered as provisions are set only for the main carer. However, you can discuss this with your Universal Credit work coach in greater detail.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • I’m on maternity leave & my partner is in full time education, we’re on UC at the moment. If I take the full year of maternity leave (Inc the 3 months we receive no maternity pay) can I still claim UC?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      January 16, 2019 09:43

      Hi Amy

      Thank you for your question. If you are already claiming Universal Credit, then your maternity leave will not make you ineligible.

      Under Universal Credit, the primary carer of a couple is placed in the ‘no work requirement’ group until their child turns one year old. You will also be placed into this group 11 weeks prior to giving birth (and if you are not the primary carer, this will continue until 15 weeks after you give birth). Therefore, if you and your partner are currently eligible for Universal Credit, then this should continue for your one year’s maternity leave. Between your child turning one and three, the primary carer will be expected only to prepare for work. When your child turns three, both yourself and your partner will be expected to work.

      However, if you are not yet claiming then it is important to be aware that full-time students over the age of 21 are not usually eligible for Universal Credit (unless they have responsibilities for a child). This may affect your joint claim with your partner, though this depends on the type of education they are undertaking.

      If you would like to assess your Universal Credit eligibility in greater detail, please feel free to use our benefits calculator: https://policyinpractice.co.uk/software/#free

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • I’m due paid on 16th and added my partner on to universal credit account as he’s recently moved in but my account now says I’m not due paid for another 37 days , can this be changed? Surely it’s a mistake especially when I have kids to look after. My partner works but his incomes not nearly enough to live on

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      January 16, 2019 09:51

      Hi Elle

      According to the regulations, the change in your circumstances when you become a couple should not stop your Universal Credit. I would advise that you speak to your work coach about this, as there may have been a mistake by DWP.

      However, the 37 day delay sounds like you have maybe made a new claim, in which case you and your partner will be subject to the 5 week assessment period, during which you will not receive an award. If this is the case, you will likely not be able to change this. You could apply for an advance payment to receive before the 37 days, however, this will need to be repaid over time through deductions to your monthly awards.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • Lisa nutting
    December 9, 2018 19:26

    Hi, my daughter will turn 19 in February but will still be in full time education from the September until the following August when she will have turned 20, so if uc child element stops from 1st September on turning 19, how do I get support as she’s still in education?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      January 16, 2019 09:52

      Hi Lisa

      If your daughter is a ‘qualifying young person’ (meaning the type of education she is undertaking is approved), then she will still count as a ‘qualifying young person’ on the basis that she was already enrolled on her course when she turned 19 years old. This will continue until 31st August after she turns 19 or until the end of her course, whichever comes first.

      I would recommend discussing this with your Universal work coach, as it is important that your journal is updated correctly.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • Hello, my 2 year old daughter gets a pension every month as a result of her fathers death, do I have to include this as income in an application for UC?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • Hi there,
    I’m thinking to applying UC as I’ve just become a single parent to my child age 5. Currently he receives DLA at £229 and I receive CA at £258. If under the UC, I understand that the DLA will be cut down to £126 and CA to £156. But the child element will be at £277 in addition to the basic £317 for myself. If I find work later and my UC basic gets cut down accordingly, does the child element amount decrease too? Or if I don’t qualify for UC in the future due to higher earnings, will I lose the child element allowance as well?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      December 5, 2018 10:17

      Hi Cheryl

      Your carers allowance and your child’s DLA stay the same under universal credit and your child’s DLA is ignored in the calculation. Within your UC you will get your personal allowance, an allowance for your child, an allowance for being a carer (in addition to your carers allowance), an additional amount due to your child’s disability and an amount to help with rent if you are a tenant. You will be substantially better off if you claim and should not delay. If you work your UC will reduce but you will always be better off as you will keep some of your earnings. The only proviso is that your carers allowance may be stopped if you work full time as you have to be doing 35 hours of care to qualify. If you have more than 16,000 savings you will not be able to claim UC.

      Regards

      Zoe

      Reply
  • hi i wanted to ask am i allowed to take a holiday off if i am training or on Part time work and i am on universal credit and if allowed how many weeks are im i allowed and months ?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      November 13, 2018 10:22

      Hi Sanaa

      This will depend on whether firstly you can still meet any conditionality requirements and secondly whether DWP see your absence as temporary or permanent. They will take into account the reason and length of absence. I would suggest discussing this with your work coach before you go away to ensure it doesn’t affect your support.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • UC – I started claiming in February, got a job in April, for some reason my salary was not being pulled through so I was told to ‘self-report’ my earnings, this I did every month by phone but also put it in the journal just in case (always get everything in writing!) . I was told in August that I no longer needed to ‘self-report’ as it was not happening automatically – great no 1 hour call waiting each month! Checked and everything was correct that month. Summer holidays being a single dad of 3 is expensive in childcare, spent all that I had.
    Come September – I go online and they are claiming that I have earned over £5K (I wish) and I have a £0 payment…. Joy! So I put a note in he journal and call them, I am told to take time off work and go to the job centre (8 miles) taking copies of my pay and bank statements – this I did,
    Called them back, now I am told that they have to do an RTI dispute, OK – thought this was done.
    That evening – no mention in the Journal so called again next day, no the RTI had not been started, so this time I insisted that there was a record put in the Journal that it had been started.
    I even explained to UC person the exact numbers… They had taken all the salaries I had earned since starting work that I had self declared, ignored the previous month (as that had gone through correctly) and added the current month salary – giving the correct total to the penny – simple I thought – get it sorted! Wrong! Now 3 weeks later and I am still waiting for even a response, I chased them last week and was told that they would escalate it, no note again in the journal so I don’t know if that actually happened!
    So any advice gratefully received and a cautionary tale to anyone “self-declaring” doing exactly what I was told – UC do not have a YTD (year to date) column on their system!! Oh joy! I wonder how long this will take for this to sort out! Can I claim back all the standing order bank charges their mistake is costing me!?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      November 13, 2018 10:21

      Hi John

      I am so sorry about the situation you are in. We have heard quite a few experiences of this sort of issue around RTI. There are a couple of routes you could try in order to get this prioritised; firstly, if you have work conditionality, your work coach can put pressure on the assessment centre to sort this out. Secondly, your local CAB may be able to escalate this on your behalf. Do let us know how you get on.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
      • I won, but it took 7 weeks! Even then they short payed me by £450! I sent them the correct calculation and after another 5 days they sent what they owed me, may come as no shock to many but it seems the Payment team in Bristol can’t even do basic maths – check everything they do manually!!

        Reply
        • Lisa McGonigle
          November 13, 2018 10:39

          Hi John

          It’s good to hear that everything has worked out for you. Thanks for updating us.

          Kind Regards

          Lisa

          Reply
          • Simon Shemilt
            March 28, 2019 14:03

            I have faced very similar problems and have still not got it sorted 5 months later. Currently I am told in owe £1300. I did post a question on here last month for some advice but have not heard anything back. Since the lasts letter at the start of March I have heard nothing – having left 4 or 5 journal messages. I too provided the correct calculation but that didn’t work as they repeatery got it wrong several times afterwards and still have. They won’t let me speak to anyone iN tech support or complaints department. And now no response to any journal messages! Help!

  • I am confused about homeschooling post 16 under Universal Credit. I am approved under ctc and child benefit until they are 18 to continue education at home. Unfortunately I will need to move on to UC soon. What will happen? Will they recognise the homeschooling and pay me the child element? They are disabled as am I, so no work commitments. So worried…help! Thank you.

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      November 13, 2018 10:19

      Hi Deborah

      The rules around responsibility for children is broadly the same between your current benefits and Universal Credit. The only difference is that you will only receive the UC element for your child up to the term following their 19th birthday. Under current benefits you can get support for your child until they leave school or turn 20.

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • If a couple have a joint claim for JSA in a full-service area can the one who doesn’t sign on leave country for a few weeks without this triggering migration, either when JC are informed she has left or returned? i.e when she is removed or added to claim.

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 22:02

      Hi Stuart, this will depend on the length of time that the person has left the country. DWP may consider it a break in claim and require a new claim as a single person which will trigger a move to Universal Credit. I would advise talking to DWP before the person leaves to ensure you understand how the break will be treated.

      Reply
  • how much can you earn until your classes as the higher rate on uc ? Also do uc work out calculations from before tax or after ?

    Reply
    • Lisa McGonigle
      November 13, 2018 10:16

      Hi Katie

      I’m not sure what you mean by “higher rate”. UC is withdrawn by 63p for every pound earned. If you have children or have limited capability for work related activity, you can earn a set amount before any earnings at all are taken into account. This is currently £198/month if you also receive the housing element or £409/month if your UC does not include the housing element. If you are classed as having limited capability for work related activity, you can work for 16 hours before your benefit is affected. Your UC is worked out on your net income (after tax and National Insurance).

      Kind Regards

      Megan

      Reply
  • Hi, I’m still very confused with Universal Credit. I have been claiming with my partner since July last year. My partner is starting his new job next week. We have two children. My partners wage will be £9.20 ph, working 36.6 hrs a week, 5 hours out of the week he will be earning an extra £2.45 for unsociable hours. Will we still receive our child element side to universal credit? Or will that be reduced because of my partners earnings?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. To better understand how your change in circumstances will affect your Universal Credit award, please use our free benefit calculator, available here: https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk
      This will give an estimate of your award according to the details you input, so if you enter the pay that your partner will soon be receiving, it will tell you what you can expect to be paid under those circumstances.

      You could also speak with an adviser at your local council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

      I hope this helps.

      Best wishes,
      Megan

      Reply
  • I am just broken with UC. First payment is only 70 … From this I have to pay rent, bills, food etc…. My assessment period Inc my final pay packet which had been reduced anyway due to hols etc … This was 904 on 25 June so covered all my rent and bills leaving me little to live on until first payment. They have used these earning to calculate my first payment, not considering that this pay covered previous month’s bills. My next payment is 25 Aug and will already be 1 months rent arrears not to mention all other bills. I am on my own, I have nobody to help me. I am battling a chronic illness every day and Judy terrified over how am going to get through this month. My land lord will ask me to leave … 70 to cover everything for month of July. I am so stressed, I’m so hungry and done without gas and electric getting up to point of first payment. I’m told to see my coach for help on budgeting … We let’s just see how 70 going to pay rent, bills food etc. I’m just mortified. I’m now getting in to debt because of a this . I’ve struggled for a while trying to work full time whilst managing an illness so been in financial difficulty for a while …UC are now causing so much more anxiety and difficulties. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do.

    Reply
    • Hi Jules,

      I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with Universal Credit. As you are facing rent arrears, you could request to have the housing element of your award paid directly to your landlord. The illness that you have mentioned may also make you eligible for a higher Universal Credit payment.

      I would advise that you speak with an adviser at your local council or a local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. They could give you debt advice, help you to arrange direct payments to your landlord and to ensure that you are being paid everything for which you are eligible within your Universal Credit claim.

      I hope this helps.

      Best wishes,
      Megan

      Reply
  • My niece is on UC. She has two children and an ex husband who ha lied about his earnings. Ex husband and partner are now expecting a baby and so they have changed Exe’s weekly payments to £6.00 for both children. We know he is lying about his earnings so how do we appeal and ask for it to be checked into. If you work on what he is claiming to earn its equivalent to £2.70 per hour. How can the UC even expect it as its clearly not true.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      I’m sorry to hear about your niece’s struggles. Unfortunately we are not in a position to advise on the enforcement or ruling of child maintenance payments. For this, I would advise that you seek the help of your local council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

      I hope this helps.

      Best wishes,
      Megan

      Reply
  • Hi

    I have just separated from my partner and I have applied for universal credits to help with rent costs. However, the letting agency is refusing to remove his name from the tenancy even though I have told them he no longer lives with me and my son.

    What happens now? Does this mean I will not get any help?!

    Jai

    Reply
    • Hi Jai,

      I think it is best that you seek the advice of your local council on this matter. They may be able to provide assistance in proving that your ex-partner no longer lives with you, or in convincing the letting agency to help. Unfortunately we cannot provide any help with this.

      Good luck and best wishes,
      Megan

      Reply
  • I receive maternity allowance, my partner works and pays £50 per week csa. We have a joint universal credit account, will they take into account the csa payments he has to pay as it’s a large amount?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Zoe Charlesworth
      September 20, 2019 22:04

      Hi Jay, any maintenance that your partner pays in respect of children from a former relationship are not deducted from his income. In other words, the amount he has to pay is still taken into account as your income.

      Reply
  • Hi. I currently claim universal credit only for help with childcare costs as I am now a working single Mum. Ex-husband and I have just sold marital home, and the equity I get is going down for a deposit on a flat for me and my son. I’ve been told that help with my childcare costs will stop because of the equity. But the equity can’t be used for childcare costs otherwise I can’t use it for a home. Surely this is wrong? Am I actually being told to use the equity for everyday living and childcare costs, so that I haven’t got the money for a deposit on a flat, so then I would have to apply for housing? Which would then cost the government more than just helping with childcare costs? Advice would be appreciated please

    Reply
  • Are you earnings disregarded when you make a joint claim so you can apply for a budgeting advance ? I am hearing 2 different things?

    Reply
    • Hi Sarah,

      Whether or not some of your earnings are disregarded will depend on your household circumstances, for instance if one or both of you are deemed to have a limited capability to work. Please use our calculator to input your circumstances and receive an estimation of your eligibility for a Universal Credit award. This can be accessed here: https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/#/calculator/new/step1

      With regards to advance payments, these can be requested as soon as you make a Universal Credit claim but you will need to repay it over the coming months. This means you will receive a reduced award each month until the advance is repaid. I would advise speaking to your work coach or an adviser at Citizens Advice Bureau about whether this is the right move for you.

      Please let us know if you have any further questions.

      Many thanks,

      Megan

      Reply
  • I have moved over from ctc & wtc to universal currently having an on going issue of my son who under ctc i was entiltled to continue to claim until his 20th birthday (He’s in full time education) or as long as I was still claiming child benefit for him which I am! However UTC maintain I am not entitled to claim for him as he is 19 and classed as a non dependant which is a complete contradiction to child benefit and ctc how can 2 government funded benefits have 2 different rules

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      July 28, 2017 13:24

      Hi Beccy.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Your son may not necessarily be classified as a non-dependant just yet but would be very soon, and may even be able to claim Universal Credit himself after he finishes with the full-time education he is currently enrolled in.
      Universal Credit was designed to make things simpler for claimants by rolling multiple benefits into one single application and one single payment, and therefore includes the child element.

      The upper limits on the eligibility criteria for the child element under Universal Credit, which replaces child tax credits, differs slightly to the existing criteria under child tax credits. Under Universal Credit, you may receive child element until the end of August (after his 19th birthday) if he is in eligible education. On the other hand, child tax credits can be claimed till he turns 20 and in eligible education, provided he was enrolled before he turned 19. You will still continue to receive Child Benefit until he is eligible as they are administered separately.

      If you have another question please post here.

      Reply
  • Hi this is a reply for Jay- remember that little thing called privacy, well whilst on UC you no longer have it. Basically the UC credit team aka big bro get to see what ever changes are attached to your Nat Insurance account, ie earnings, and yes holiday pay and yes tax rebates, so if you receive anything like the aforementioned, your UC will be lowered or none at all given and magically you won’t need to actually ‘inform them’, the uc team- so no worries there. just best getting off it for good really as it will get worse.

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      May 12, 2017 16:51

      Hi Jacqui.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Most employers are required to use the government’s Real Time Information (RTI) system to report certain information, which is then used in your Universal Credit (UC) calculation. The advantage of this system is that you don’t have to worry about reporting your income, which is especially useful if it changes frequently. This automation can also help prevent fraudulent claims being made.

      If you have any questions please post here.

      Reply
  • Hi

    I was under the impression that transitional protection would apply to those who had capital in excess of £16000? Is this not the case?

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      January 30, 2017 14:49

      Hi Jennifer.

      Thank you for your question.

      Those with capital (savings) of more than £16,000 are usually not entitled to Universal Credit (UC), however you may get transitional protection if you are moved from tax credits to UC by HMRC or DWP, which may mean your entitlement continues if you have savings of more than £16,000. This transitional protection only applies to people who are ‘managed migrated’ (moved by HMRC or DWP to UC) and not to anyone who has a change of circumstances that causes their tax credits to end and need make a new benefits claim to UC. You can find more information on that here.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
  • Miss Shipman
    January 7, 2017 20:28

    I had a 4 week gap in employment last year and had to change from WTC to UC. I know that there were changes to Council Tax Reduction at the same time but my earnings are only slightly higher than they were in my previous job and yet I am pretty much paying full council tax. When I questioned why, I was told that the Housing element of my UC is included in my income thus on paper my weekly income is double what I actually earn. I am struggling to keep myself afloat financially and have even been singed off work with stress (first time ever) and it’s all down to my financial situation. I am actually better off not working, surely that’s not right?

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      January 13, 2017 17:45

      Hi Miss Shipman.

      Thank you for your question.

      Sorry to hear that you’ve been signed off work because of stress. It can’t be an easy time for you.

      In 2013 local authorities started managing the Council Tax Reduction scheme, so in each area of the country the scheme is different. It is very rare for your housing element of UC to be included in your income. Which local authority is responsible for your area?

      Being out of work may affect your Council Tax Support. As your earnings are lower you will receive more support, though the amount depends on your council tax band and the Council Tax Reduction scheme in your area.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
  • is there still a 3k limit for children savings that are accessible before age 18 and is child trust fund disregarded?

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      January 13, 2017 17:43

      Hi Kayleigh.

      Thanks for your question.

      If your child’s savings are over £3,000 they may affect your benefit entitlement, but it depends what benefits you’re on. However, if you hold an asset (like a trust fund) as a trustee it is not counted as part of your capital; it will not affect your entitlement. You can find useful information on savings and capital here.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
      • it will be housing benefit, so child trust fund wouldn’t be counted for 3k limit?

        Reply
        • Jethro Martin
          January 30, 2017 14:48

          Hello Kayleigh.

          Thank you for your question.

          That’s right, if you hold an asset (like a trust fund) as a trustee it is not counted as part of your capital; it will not affect your entitlement.

          If you have any other questions please post here.

          Reply
  • Hi. I currently receive wtc & ctc but am moving onto uc due to having a new baby. I am therefore currently on mat leave recieving stat pay. My first question is: when my tax credits stop for a five week break before uc begins will I get a 4 week run on of tax credits?
    Second question: will I get a top up for the income I’m missing out on due to mat leave? Usually I earn £1200 a month & stat pay is approx £600!!
    Third question: If I choose to take the full year mat leave, the final 12 weeks are unpaid, will my uc payment increase for those 12 weeks to reflect that or will I simply have to go without?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      January 30, 2017 14:55

      Hi Remi.

      Thank you for your question.

      Your first Universal Credit (UC) payment will be made up to one month and 14 days after your initial claim, this payment will include your benefits for that period.

      You may receive less under UC than under the current system. Your change to UC will probably be classified as a ‘natural migration’, as you are moving to the new system due to a change in circumstances. In this case you will not be entitled to transitional protection. You can read more about the migration process here.

      In the final 12 weeks of your maternity leave you will get higher amount of UC, though if you have a partner who is working then this may not be the case.

      You can get an estimate of your entitlement when your circumstances change on our benefit calculator here.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
      • Hi,
        I am a single mom and claiming uc , currently on mat leave and have a similar question. If I decide to extend my mat leave to 12 months (which 3 of those are unpaid) will my uc payment increase for those 12 weeks ?

        Reply
        • Alannah McGhee
          August 19, 2020 10:51

          Hi Natalia,

          Yes, your Universal Credit will increase but your household income will not be as high as your SMP is treated as earnings so you retain 37% of it and your Universal Credit is reduced by 67% of your SMP.

          But the ending of SMP will not affect your Universal Credit entitlement so you will just get a slightly reduced amount. As you will have a child under 1 year, Universal Credit will not expect you to work.

          Best wishes.

          Reply
  • What if a one-time payment like a tax rebate or accurred holiday hours paid by an agency is paid whilst on uc, will this be classed as receiving an income and will the job centre have to be notified of this, how will UC be effected.

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      January 13, 2017 17:40

      Hi Jay.

      Thanks for your question.

      Under Universal Credit (UC) income information is taken directly from your employer, so there is no need to notify anyone of changes in your income. UC is calculated monthly, based on what you have earnt that month – as you earn more your UC amount decreases. The amount you receive reduces at a rate of 65p (though changing to 63p from April) for every pound you earn, so as you earn more your UC amount decreases, but your extra income more than offsets it. A one-time payment of tax rebate would be treated as earnings. You can find more information about reporting fluctuating income and UC here.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
      • Hi this is a reply for Jay- remember that little thing called privacy, well whilst on UC you no longer have it. Basically the UC credit team aka big bro get to see what ever changes are attached to your Nat Insurance account, ie earnings, and yes holiday pay and yes tax rebates, so if you receive anything like the aforementioned, your UC will be lowered or none at all given and magically you won’t need to actually ‘inform them’, the uc team- so no worries there. just best getting off it for good really as it will get worse.

        Reply
  • Hi there,

    I am in the process of apply with my partner Universal Credit. I have been asked to produce my bank statements. I work part-time and have £ 4500 credit on my bank account. Would this trouble me while doing this claim? How much funds does a claimant need to have on his account in general?
    Thank you.
    Ahmed

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      December 22, 2016 09:40

      Hi Ahmed,

      Thank you for your question.

      Under Universal Credit (UC) any amount of savings or capital under £6,000 will be ignored when calculating the amount you will receive, so in your case your savings will not affect your entitlement.

      Those with savings or capital between £6000 and £16,000 are assumed to be receiving an income from this, called a tariff income. For every £250 of savings or capital you have over £6,000 it’s assumed you will receive an income of £1 a week – this amount is deducted from your UC. If you have savings or capital of over £16,000 you won’t be able to get Universal Credit.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
  • In my last employment I was, like many people, paid a month in arrears and as this PAYE payment date fell within my first assessment period following a new claim for UC after leaving work, I have had 65% of my final earnings deducted from the first UC payment. This seems wrong, effectively taking away money earnt before any claim was made. Can anything be done about this?

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      December 16, 2016 15:18

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for your question.

      Universal Credit (UC) is calculated on a month-by-month basis and as you earn more the amount you receive will reduce at a rate of 65p (reducing to 63p next April) for every pound you earn. As UC is calculated monthly unfortunately if you receive earnings from your previous job during a month in which you are claiming then this will be taken off your UC amount for the month. This will not be the case in months that you don’t receive any earnings. You can find more information on the payment cycles of UC here.

      If there is any more we can do to help, please post here.

      Reply
  • Steph Durrant
    October 13, 2016 15:07

    Oh no!!
    We don’t have it in that format
    How can I get this?
    When I call them they tell me that there is no paper statement

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      December 16, 2016 15:22

      Hi Steph.

      Thank you for your question.

      The paper statement is available through your work coach, who will be able to print it out for you. This should provide a detailed break-down of your Universal Credit entitlement.

      If you have any other questions please post here.

      Reply
  • Stephanie Durrant
    October 11, 2016 08:16

    I am now on Universal Credits and I am currently applying for a mortgage of £63,000
    This is proving to be difficult as there is no paper statement like before, with tax credits
    Is it actually possibly to get a mortgage using universal credits?

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      October 13, 2016 14:53

      Hi Stephanie

      Thanks for your question.

      Have you been given, or been able to print out your Universal Credit award notice? It may look something like the award notice here.

      Having part of your income made up of benefits shouldn’t stop you obtaining a mortgage, however it may be more difficult depending on which benefits you receive.

      You may be able to receive some help paying your mortgage under Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). Some lenders may be reluctant to count benefits as a source of income and most will look more favourably on those who are in full time employment.

      Under Universal Credit, households in work are not eligible for support for mortgage interest. If you are out of work it is only available after receiving Universal Credit for 9 months, and it will be a loan not a benefit.

      You should ensure your earnings plus your Universal Credit payment is sufficient to cover your mortgage and day to day living costs. There are many mortgage lenders; different providers have different rules so it is worth shopping around and looking into different options.

      If there is any more we can do help, please post here.

      Reply
      • Steph Durrant
        October 13, 2016 15:03

        Yes – my mortgage advisor has a copy of the online statement. It doesn’t seem to be broken down in as much detail and I think this maybe the problem
        I don’t know if it’s my particular scenario or the universal credits themselves
        Just worrying myself silly over the whole thing because if I can’t buy, i’ll have to rent and I didn’t really want to do that.

        Reply
  • Hi, I was wondering if you could confirm something for me. I am currently in the Support Group ESA with my husband on my claim. (I am also applying for PIP but I am now waiting for the appointment). We have a mortgage and receive £100 a month towards that. I am currently trying to start up a small business with the help of the DWP’s permitted work scheme but with my medical conditions this has yet to make any profit and I struggle to even do 10 hours a week. Ignoring the permitted work for a second, t would seem that under Universal Credit we could currently be substantially better off.

    However, my aim was to move my business on towards the allowed 15 hours and £115 a week, then onto working tax credits and hopefully provide enough income to eventually come off income related benefits entirely. With UC the situation seems to be completely different, especially if I do not qualify for PIP (My main medical condition automatically puts me in the support group but is not covered by DLA or PIP. It is only secondary conditions that have now worsened that could qualify me for PIP. These could improve in the future removing qualification, while my life long medical condition is here to stay).

    It would appear to me that the permitted work scheme has completely disappeared with UC. Bearing in mind that this scheme also protects other benefits like our mortgage payment and entitlement to council tax benefit. Am I right or am I missing something?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      December 1, 2016 15:42

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your question.

      Under the ‘permitted work’ scheme you could work up to 16 hours a week and earn up to £115.50 and this wouldn’t affect your benefits entitlement. The rules are different under Universal Credit (UC). With limited capacity to work you’ll be able to earn up to £397 a month before your UC is affected, at this point it will reduce at a rate of 65p for every pound you earn (reducing slightly to 63p next April). So your UC will decrease the more you work, but this will be more than offset by your extra earnings.

      You can input your details into our free Policy in Practice Universal Credit Calculator here, which will tell you exactly what you are entitled to under UC. You can change the number of hours here to see how much your benefit changes.

      If there is any more we can do to help, please post here.

      Reply
      • Hi again Jethro.

        Can you tell me how the self employed earnings will be treated under UC, I anticipate that my earnings will fluctuate greatly through out the year, with a high percentage of the years profits made in the run up to Christmas.

        I currently not well enough to be doing anything within permitted work , still in the support group also receiving PIP. I would like to know however if it is even worth me considering the self employment route in the future.

        Thanks

        Reply
  • Hey, me and my partner have just started on this new universal credit system which ive already seen some problems. I may be jobless but I aint stupid not to notice the reduction of couple benifits. On jobseeker we would get paid £115.80 a week. Which if your good enough to know your maths properly works out to be roughly 503 a month. But on universal credit we are on 395.20 a month which is about £108, which you reverse the calculation work out to £90 quid a week. Out of order! Secondly I would like to ask if anyone thought about those 5 week months ? Your still getting paid the months money in my case 395.20 ?? Whats going on there. The use of universal credit is putting this country into poverty rather quickly.

    Reply
    • Jethro Martin
      December 1, 2016 15:47

      Hi Luke,

      Thanks for your message.

      Your entitlement under Universal Credit (UC) may well be lower than under the current system. We’d advise you to use our free Universal Credit Calculator here, which will show you exactly what you are entitled to. A criticism of UC is that the move to a monthly payment system may cause budgeting issues for some people. You may be able to apply for a ‘budgeting advance’ if you are struggling – you can find more information on that here.

      If there is any more we can do to help, please post here.

      Reply
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    Reply
  • Hello, I’m wondering if anyone can offer me some advice please? I lost my job one week ago, I made a claim for benefits for the first time and was told the benefit I needed to apply for was universal credit. I am currently receiving a 4 week run on of working tax and child credits which will end in the 25 th March. I understand there is an assessment period of 4 weeks. Will this assessment period start after my tax credit run on has finished, meaning I won’t have any payments until the end of April/ early May or will my assessment start as soon as I’ve had an interview at the job centre? It’s so confusing, I don’t have a wage to come at the end of this month and don’t have any savings etc. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Joel Reland
      April 11, 2016 09:52

      Hi Lyndsey,

      Your assessment period begins one week after you have made your claim at the Jobcentre, and your first payment will be made one month after the beginning of that claim.

      You can also ask for a Universal Credit claim advance payment if you can prove that your earnings are low enough. This amount is likely to be less than half of a full payment under Universal Credit, and is to help you budget until your next payment is sent out. However, you do have to pay back this sum, and convince the Jobcentre that you will be able to do so; so your lack of savings might be an issue.

      I hope that this helps in some way.

      Joël

      Reply
  • Hi – I read there is a £16k capital limit for claiming UC. Can you tell me what constitutes capital under UC for a self employed sole trader? I read somewhere that money in the sole trader’s business account wouldn’t count – but then I have since read contrary to that. Also what about stock? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Leonardo Kellaway
      December 1, 2015 16:39

      Hi Jason,

      Firstly, stocks and shares are considered as capital under UC.

      Secondly, looking at the legislation on one person businesses, any assets of the company that are used wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the trade are to be disregarded from the person’s capital. This includes cash, the income and savings of the company is to be treated as the person’s income and savings.

      In your scenario, unless what was in your sole trader’s business account was used to pay off capital that was “wholly and exclusively for the purpose of trade” it would count as personal capital. However, this is also open to interpretation.

      Hope this helps.

      Leo

      Reply
  • Hi

    I was wondering if there is any protection for people who have been working and managing to pay their rent, but become unemployed and face a restriction in the amount of housing costs they receive because of the local housing allowance rates.

    I understand there is similar protection under housing benefit but not sure if this will exist under Universal Credit? I can’t find any information.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Daniel Cavanillas
      August 12, 2015 14:07

      Hi Ricki;

      Thanks for your question. As you correctly mention, under the current benefits system you would be protected for 13 weeks in this case. However, under Universal Credit, this protection will no longer exist – your housing support will be reduced immediately if the rent is above the local housing allowance rate, regardless of your previous circumstances.

      This is outlined on Page 13 of the Housing Element of Universal Credit report, which is linked here: http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN06547

      Best,

      Policy in Practice

      Reply
  • Hi i have two children aged 6 and 5 i have moved back in with parents as was advised going on universal credit. I do not get anything of the childrens father he does not see them at all. I am working 18 to 24 hours a week. Was advised i was speaking to a gentleman secuirty in the job centre saying i can claim tax credits working but universal credit said its all in one to be honest i am worse off i live in the northwest liverpool. I have been discussing payments with other mums and there on well more money than me with one child and i have two i am confussed i get 817 something along them lines a month and when i put in on the universal credit caculator it says 917 can you please explain to me as i feel like idont get anywere when calling universal credit plus on phone for 40mins sometimes when i get through. I would be hsppy if ucould tell me whats what and if i am entitled to anything else.

    Many thanks xx

    Reply
    • Daniel Cavanillas
      August 12, 2015 17:22

      Hi Rebecca;

      Thank you for sharing your experience;

      As you rightly mention, Universal Credit is replacing tax credits, so if you are receiving Universal Credit you will no longer be able to claim Working Tax Credit. There is an in-work element in Universal Credit which people can receive even if they are working, but how much support you receive if you work 18 to 24 hours per week will depend on your circumstances.

      Unfortunately I can’t comment on your exact calculations. I would recommend talking to an advisor at your local authority, or perhaps at a CAB, where they will be better able to help you understand your situation.

      Best;

      Policy in Practice

      Reply
  • Hi
    I’m on Income Based JSA at the moment. I’ve been told I’ll be moved over to UC soon, yet according to the Universal Credit website I’m ineligible to claim due to having been abroad for more than four weeks in the last two years. Will can I do about this? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Gav,

      Thank you for your comment.

      You are right, Universal Credit is currently only available to people who have lived in the UK for the last two years, and not have been abroad for more than four weeks continuously during that time. As Universal Credit will be rolled out more and more claimants with different circumstances will be included. If you have made your advisors at the Jobcenter aware of your situation they will inform you when you will be moved to Universal Credit, until then you will continue to receive JSA.

      Reply
  • Hi i became unemployed in feb for the first time , im now getting this new universal credit, i couldnt find work in my own hometown so went to london to seek work, i had a problem with my log in (sigh on) day or whatever they call it, telling me i had to have a permanent address (which i dont have) as im only here on a trial period to see if i can find work could i use a PO Box for all my mail ….any info would be greatful thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Hi Angie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately a PO Box is not an option for claiming Universal Credit, neither is a temporary address. This means that you will either need to keep a permanent address in your previous home town and travel back and forth for appointments, or take the step and find a permanent home in London.

      You would need one of the following documents to confirm your new address (or any subsequent address): your tenancy agreement or mortgage statement, your driving licence, a recent bank statement or credit card bill, a recent utility bill or your entry in the electoral register. More information can be found here.

      Either way, I hope you find a job soon!

      Reply
  • Mike Patterson
    April 13, 2015 07:22

    I am currently on Universal Credit and looking for work. I was on a work experience placement arranged by my local Universal Credit office on Friday last week when I fell ill with a seizure and had to spend time in hospital. I was discharged later that same day. I am due to contact the Universal Credit line later today to explain my situation but wondered before I make the call how my claim might be affected as I cannot find much information relating to what happened to me on the Universal Credit website.

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

      The information I found on sanctions usually says that they will only be imposed if someone does not have a good reason for failing to meet a requirement. However I hope an emergency hospitalisation would count as such.
      At this point I assume you will have made the call already, so it would be interesting to hear how it went. I hope you managed to sort it out and are recovering from your seizure!

      Reply
  • How will home educators be affected by this? My husband works and I remain at home with our children aged 6 years, 3 years and 8 months. They either are, or will be, home educated, thus preventing me from working and meeting these ‘requirements’.

    How will we be affected? Will I be forced into work even though we have already made financial sacrifices in order for one of us to be at home full-time?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As long as your youngest child is under the age of one, you are not required to work. However when your youngest child is between the age of one and two you will be asked to attend interviews to discuss plans for a future move into work, and after that you will be expected to take active steps to prepare for work. Once your youngest child is 5 years old you will be expected to look for part time work in line with caring responsibilities. Home educating is not considered part of the necessary care work, so you would be expected to do this in addition to work preparation or part time work, or find alternative schooling options for your children. Parents of children over the age of 13 are usually expected to look for full time work.

      You can find this information and more in this document which provides an overview of Universal Credit and families.

      Please be aware that under Universal Credit there is a requirement on earnings rather than hours worked, so currently you and your husband would be expected to earn 35h *£6.50 = £227.5 per week. Once your youngest child is 5 years old, we expect that this would be (35 + 16) * £6.50 = £331.5 per week (at the current National Minimum Wage level). It doesn’t matter how these earnings are split between you.

      It might be helpful to know that you can claim back 70% of the cost of childcare under Universal Credit.

      Reply
      • Claiming back even 100% of childcare costs wouldn’t change the situation! My children are HOME EDUCATED! We are actively choosing for them to NOT be in school/childcare.

        How can I be expected to work AND provide adequate care for my children and fulfill their educational requirements?

        It is our LEGAL RIGHT to educate our children how we choose, so why should I put my children in a conventional educational system that is underfunded, overtested, and oversubscribed?

        Reply
  • How many hours will 60 year olds be expected to work @ NMW to reach the income floor? At the moment they have to work only 16 hours to be eligible for working tax credits.

    Reply
    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Under Universal Credit there is no requirement for a minimum of hours worked, but rather a minimum income. There is no legislation (yet) specifying requirements for people over the age of 60 years as exists for the current system, and they are currently not listed as being exempt or having reduced requirements. If this remains the case you would be expected to earn £6.5 * 35h= £227.5 per week.

      The DWP can agree to reduce this if you carry out voluntary work (maximum of 50% of time), carry out work preparation requirement or deal with any temporary circumstances, e.g. domestic emergency or funeral arrangements.

      Reply
  • I’ve apply for universal credit while I am waiting 5 weeks for payment im going to be 5 weeks behind with my rent

    Reply
    • Daniel Cavanillas
      April 20, 2015 09:46

      Hello;

      There are procedures in place to help new claimants in the transition towards Universal Credit.

      You may apply for a Universal Credit new claim advance as long as you fulfil certain requirements. You will have to prove that your earnings are low enough, and convince Jobcentre Plus that you will be able to pay back the advance.

      If your application is accepted, you will receive a budgeting advance to help you budget until your next payment. This amount is likely to be less than half of your actual Universal Credit entitlement, and you will be expected to pay it back during the following months. Repayments will normally be made in the form of deductions to your Universal Credit payments.

      I hope this information helps you.

      Daniel

      Reply
  • Hi I’m in receipt of the standard daily living rate of Personal independance payment and not entitled to other benefits,my partner works 39 hrs a week his hourly wage is £7.74 ,we rent privately which is £375 a month ,We live in the North West (Pendle area of Lancashire) what Universal Credit will we get ? and why can we not claim UC yet? even though it was introduced in my area Oct/Nov 2014. Thanks Bev

    Reply
    • Hi Bev,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The Universal Credit Calculator is a self-service tool that can calculate your Universal Credit entitlements, I would encourage you to enter your details there. Please be aware that you will need to enter additional information like the amount of bedrooms in your house, and your council tax band.

      Universal Credit is being rolled-out for single claimants initially and will step by step include couples, and families. Do you currently receive ESA as well as PIP? If so, people with disabilities will be amongst the last to be included, so it will be a while before you can claim Universal Credit.

      Reply
  • Hi I work full time and have a disability not recognized by any benefit support but by doctors and consultants(and everyone who knows me), and my wife home educates our children, I understand that with children over five both parents are expected to be working full time hours to receive support is this correct, also am I excluded from any support for my disability under universal credit

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Under Universal Credit couples with children will have to nominate one parent as the lead carer, the other parent is expected to look for full time work. If your children are between the age of five and 12 the lead carer is expected to look for part time work in line with caring responsibilities. Home educating is not considered part of the necessary care work, so your wife would be expected to do this in addition to part time work, or find alternative schooling options for your children.

      However, under Universal Credit the earnings rather than the hours are what matters, so combined you might be expected to earn (35 + 16) * £6.5 = £331.5 per week. It doesn’t matter how these earnings are split between you and your partner. It might be helpful to know that you can claim back 70% of childcare cost under Universal Credit. Parents of children over the age of 13 are usually expected to look for full time work.

      Whether you will receive support for your disability will depend on the results of a Work Capability Assessment.

      Reply
  • james ramage
    October 30, 2014 12:51

    Hi there. Your calculator is really helpful, thank you, but in calculating UC for single people in the former ESA Support group category is there really an extra disability premium of £71 per week as you indicate?? – current ESA support group premium is about £35 – is IDS really going to double it ! If so I have misjudged the man’s motiovations.

    Reply
    • Hi James,

      Thank you for your feedback!

      You are generally correct; the basic employment support component for ESA support group will increase from £35.75 to £71.77 per week. However under the current system beneficiaries receive additional weekly premiums of £15.55 for enhanced disability and £61.10 for severe disability which will no longer be paid under Universal Credit to simplify the system. Depending on the level of disability some people will be worse off and some will be better off under Universal Credit.

      Overall, the budget for ESA will stay the same under Universal Credit, but is being redistributed amongst recipients and the system is being simplified.

      Reply
  • Hi

    I have two disabled kids who get medium and higher dla rates, and get child tax credit disability premiums. My husband is self employed but doesn’t earn a lot. Will the disabled child and child elements of uc be taken off us, or is it just the working tax element for adults? We don’t claim housing or council tax benefit

    Reply
    • Hi Maddalene,

      Thank you for your question.

      DLA is a non-means tested benefit. This means it is available to everyone, no matter what their income is, so you will continue to receive DLA for your children under Universal Credit.
      The child element of Universal Credit is equivalent to Child Tax Credit and will remain at £2,750 per child and £545 per family per year (as of April 2014) as a starting point for people that are unemployed.
      The disabled child element under Universal Credit is equivalent to the child disability element of Child Tax Credit. The higher rate for severely disabled children will stay the same under Universal Credit at currently £362.92 per month, however the middle rate will be reduced from £258.33 to £124.86 per month.

      Universal Credit will combine Job Seeker’s Allowance / Employment and Support Allowance / Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits into one single benefit that will be withdrawn at a constant rate. Currently different benefits are withdrawn at different rates. Without knowing your income details I can therefore unfortunately not tell you what amount of the disabled child element you will receive, but I would advise you to enter your information in our Universal Benefit Calculator to find out more.

      Reply
  • What provisions are being made for possible failure to computer systems in regards to people receiving their Universal Credit?

    Reply
    • Daniel Cavanillas
      April 20, 2015 09:17

      That’s a great question, Sean, and one that touches on one of the most discussed areas of Universal Credit: its reliance on computer systems.

      The explanatory memorandum explains what would happen if the official computer system is inoperative when a person applies for Universal Credit. In that case, the time claimants have to apply would be extended by up to one month, in order to allow them to send their application.

      We have not been able to find guidance regarding other potential computer systems failures, but Universal Credit currently has a number of manual crosschecks in place that should help minimise any risks.

      Daniel

      Reply
  • At the moment if I didn’t satisfy all the expectations in regards to my job seekers allowance contract I could be sanctioned. However I would still be entitled to Housing Benefit based on a zero income. What will happen to my help with the help I receive for my rent if I am sanctioned for not seeking work?

    Reply
    • Daniel Cavanillas
      April 20, 2015 09:02

      Hello Sean, many thanks for your question.

      The move to Universal Credit has raised many questions among benefit claimants, including about the impact of sanctions.

      It is unlikely that your housing element will be affected by any sanctions. According to the regulations, sanctions will only be applied to the standard allowance of Universal Credit – the one that is meant to cover your day-to-day costs. This implies that the housing costs element of Universal Credit will not be affected by these sanctions.

      Thanks again for your question, and don’t hesitate to get back to us if you have any more doubts!

      Daniel

      Reply
  • Hi

    I am a single parent of two children aged 9 and 12. I work 18 hours a week during term time. I am in the process of getting divorced, and am currently receiving interim maintenance which covers both child and spousal maintenance, although it’s not officially divided between the two. I get both working and child tax credits. The divorce settlement is being negotiated on the basis that I will continue to receive these benefits.

    When my divorce is finalised I will be getting separate spousal and child maintenance, probably about equal to what I get now. I understand that under UTC the spousal maintenance will be classed as unearned income, and would therefore reduce the amount of benefit I qualify for, even though my actual income will remain the same.

    If the divorce is sorted soon, my maintenance payments are fixed, and I am still receiving WTC & CTC before I transition on to UTC, will I qualify for transitional protection? Or will the fact that I will be receiving spousal maintenance mean that my payments will drop when I transition? If this is the case I will need to agree a higher spousal maintenance now to cover the loss in benefits income.

    Is there a timetable for transition of existing claimants?

    Thanks in advance
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Dear Sarah,

      If you are currently receiving tax credits and your circumstances remain the same, you should be entitled to transitional protection that will make up the difference between what you receive now and what you will be entitled to under Universal Credit. This will last as long as you do not have a change of circumstances. For more information, you can read the DWP’s briefing note on transitional protection.

      Existing claims are only expected to be migrated onto Universal Credit in 2016.

      Reply
  • Hi, I am worried because I had to leave my job due to ill health and at the time due to a legacy got a mortgage on a property which I now let. There is over £ 16,000 equity in it. Though I use this as a business. Though owned in my husband and my name. (I have a family and husband who is on ESA = support group as he is very ill). there has been no profits from the rental as yet. Would the equity be classed as our capital even though it is a business?

    Reply
    • Dear Rustie,

      Your property will be classed as capital even though it is run as a business. Since there is over £16,000 of equity, this would mean that you would be ineligible for Universal Credit. However you may still be entitled to contributory benefits.

      According to the Universal Credit regulations (Schedule 10), premises which are not classified as capital are:
      • Occupied by you as your home
      • Occupied by a close relative who has a limited capability for work or is of state pension age
      • Occupied by a former partner
      • Newly acquired, but you are taking action to move in within 6 months
      • Premises which you left due to an estrangement from a partner
      • Premises which you are trying to dispose of, and have taken reasonable steps to do this in the last 6 months

      Reply
  • joannahurley
    March 11, 2014 13:12

    Hello, loss of Child Tax credit will reduce my income significantly. My Financial Court Order following my divorce was based on the fact that I received Child Tax Credits and the amount of spousal maintenance I received was based on this. If I lose this benefit I will have a significant income shortfall. Will the transitional period cover people in my situation? I also have savings above £16k

    Reply
    • Dear Joanna,

      The roll out of Universal Credit has been delayed, so current benefit claimants are now only expected to be migrated on to Universal Credit in 2016-17.

      Unfortunately we don’t think that you will be eligible for transitional protection. Transitional protection applies to people who are migrated onto Universal Credit from existing benefits and will be paid as an addition to the Universal Credit award.

      Since you have over £16,000 in savings, you would not be eligible for Universal Credit, and would therefore not be ‘migrated’ onto UC or receive a UC award which the transitional protection could be added on to.

      You may be able to have your maintenance reassessed to take into account your decreased income once you are no longer able to claim Child Tax Credits.

      Reply
  • Hi,

    I have two children, aged 3 and 5 and work 30 hours a week. I am a single parent and I have a mortgage. I get no maintenance and I can only afford to live with the assistance of child tax credits. I don’t understand how or if the change will affect me?

    Thanks
    Kris

    Reply
    • Dear Kris,

      When the new system (Universal Credit) comes in it will replace a number of existing benefits (Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit).

      You can use the free version of our Universal Credit Calculator to estimate what you will be entitled to under Universal Credit. You will just need to enter your household circumstances (e.g. number of children, rent, etc.)

      From the information you’ve given in your comment, here is how Universal Credit will affect you:

      • Instead of Child Tax Credit, you will receive the “child element” of Universal Credit. This isn’t likely to affect the amount you receive each month. If you’d like to find out more, have a look at the HMRC website on Tax Credits.
      • You have not stated that you receive Working Tax Credit, but as a lone parent working over 16 hours, you should be eligible (so it might be worth applying for this if you don’t receive it). Under Universal Credit, you would instead receive in-work support through Universal Credit.
      • Your benefits will be paid monthly in one lump sum.
      • You will only be entitled to help with your mortgage interest payments when out of work.
      • Child Benefit is not being replaced so if you are receiving this at the moment then it shouldn’t be affected.

      It’s also worth being aware that UC is being rolled out gradually over the next few years across the UK. Current benefit claims are expected to be migrated to Universal Credit in 2016.

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  • A lot of people are getting worried about the change to Universal Credit (UC). I think it should be stressed that no-one transferred over from existing benefits will lose out in cash terms, due to “transitional protection”, i.e. a cash top-up if their UC entitlement is less than under the current system, so that there is no overall reduction from the previous amount, while their circumstances remain the same.

    This top-up will apply until a claimant’s circumstances change significantly in a way specified by the regulations, e.g. stopping work, having a sustained (3 months) fall in earnings to below that required by the Claimant Commitment, partner joining/leaving the household. At that point the UC entitlement will be calculated with no reference to the old, pre-UC benefit amounts, and no transitional protection will apply.

    The cash top-up would be eroded over time by the annual uprating in UC, e.g. a £2 increase due to uprating would be clawed back by a £2 reduction in transitional protection. The same is true of an increase in UC due to a small fall in earnings: the transitional protection would be used up pound-for-pound by any such increase in UC.

    To preserve work incentives, if earnings increase, the transitional protection will remain, until earnings grow so much that the claimant is no longer entitled to UC. Even then, it will be tapered away gradually.

    That is my understanding from reading online but feel free to correct me if I have any of that wrong.

    Reply
    • Dear Neil,

      Thank you for your comments. You have given a good, concise explanation of transitional protection under Universal Credit that will surely help others in the future.

      I’d just like to add a few points. Firstly, transitional protection will only apply to existing claimants, but not new claimants even in cases where they would have received more under the current system than Universal Credit.

      Secondly, eligibility for transitional protection will depend on why someone’s claim has been moved to Universal Credit. If claimants are migrated onto UC automatically with no change of circumstances, then they will receive transitional protection. However, if they are moved onto UC because of a change of circumstances, they will not be eligible for transitional protection.

      Lastly, for self-employed people, transitional protection will not cover the effects of the Minimum Income Floor (which will assume that self-employed people are earning the national minimum wage x reported hours, even if they are earning less). Their transitional protection will be calculated prior to the Minimum Income Floor (using their actual wage).

      For those interested in finding out more, you can read the DWP’s Universal Credit Policy Breifing Note on transitional protection here.

      Reply
  • do childen have a savings limit under uc

    Reply
    • Dear Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment. You raise a very good question.

      According to the DWP’s Advice for Decision Making, a child’s savings and capital will not be taken into account when calculating the household’s Universal Credit award. This means that there would be no limit.

      However, this is only if the advisor is satisfied that the savings actually belong to the child. Advisors may investigate if it appears that the savings actually belong to the claimant.

      Reply
  • I found the link below on how universal credit is going to affect the self employed / small business owner. What really worries me is that the monthly accounting will not take into account irregular earnings and losses. For example one month i have a large outgoing but no sales, my income will not reach the minimum floor threshold, so i will not be entitled to any universal credit that month. i still have the rent to pay etc…The next month i have a large sale but no outgoings. My earnings are as a result well above the threshold that month so again i receive less support.

    It is a known fact that businesses have fluctuating income that usually balances out throughout the year. The present system of reporting yearly takes this into account.

    Small businesses or anyone self employed with an irregular income is going to be forced to either not claim universal credit support or be forced into alternative work which if they cannot find will then be forced on to a workfare scheme with no pay. this will create the situation where employers will be using them as free labour. Farmers will not be able to survive, but maybe the government is not concerned with the uk supporting itself & producing its own food? Importing food will be their answer!

    Also has any provision been made for parents that home educate their children? I cannot find any answers to this? It is stated in the Universal Credit info that parents of children between 5 & 13 are expected to work within school hours. Over 13 expected work hours are 35 per week. What about single parents who are coordinating home education around their self employed hours. I know of one lady who is home educating her 13 year old, is a single parent plus also runs her own business and has a fluctuating income – how is she going to survive?

    http://www.permaculturehouseintotnes.co.uk/1/post/2013/04/universal-credit-and-the-self-employed.html#comments

    Reply
    • Dear Jane,

      You have a valid concern about irregular earnings. The regulations indicate that Universal Credit will be calculated on a cash-accounting monthly basis.

      However, you have twelve months to establish a level of regular earnings equal to or above the minimum income floor. During this period, if your earnings fall to zero in any assessment period, you will receive the maximum UC award for that period.

      After twelve months, if your earnings fall to zero you will continue to receive UC, but at a lower amount, as if you had earned the minimum income floor amount (hours worked * NMW).

      You can read more about self-employment under Universal Credit here.

      At present there is nothing in the regulations or guidance about home educators. It is expected that they will be need to meet conditionality like other parents. However, if your friend has sufficient earnings running her own business then she will avoid conditionality.

      Under Universal Credit, conditionality is about earnings rather than hours. A lone parent with a child aged 13 would be expected to meet a minimum income threshold that is equivalent to working 16 hours x national minimum wage (£6.19) = £430.35 per month. Their work hours do not have to be during school time and they do not have to work 16 hours if they are earning a higher wage.

      Reply
      • Hello, thankyou for your reply. What if the child is over 13 years what will the minimum threshold expectations per week / month be? thank you

        Reply
  • has anything been finalised on the attribution of student loans / grants / bursaries to UC yet? – previously in December you said it had not been finalised yet.
    I am led to believe that under the current system the loans and grants are not counted as income, but the bursaries are.
    I am confused at how can a loan be counted as income, as it is not strictly speaking your income as it has to be paid back – regardless of the source of the loan.

    Reply
    • Dear MCB,

      Under Universal Credit, students undertaking a full-time course of advanced education or undertaking any other full-time course of study or training through a student loan, grant, or bursary are not entitled to claim Universal Credit. However, there are exceptions that mean full time students in advanced and non advanced education can still be able to qualify for Universal Credit if the student:

      • is a member of a couple where the other eligible adult is entitled to Universal Credit
      • has dependent children or foster children (whether as a lone parent or member of a couple where both are students);
      • is disabled, entitled to disability living allowance or personal independence payment and satisfies the work capability assessment;
      • is over the qualifying age for pension credit (in couple cases where one is over and one under that age); and
      • for non-advanced education only, they are up to age 21 and without parental support.

      If a student both qualifies for Universal Credit and is receiving ‘student income’ (loan, grant, or bursary), the student income will be treated as unearned income which will reduce the Universal Credit award on a pound for pound basis.

      Student loan repayments are not taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit award.

      Reply
  • Hi, i would like to know how this will work to a lone parent with a disabled child benefits are paid in arrears so does this mean we have to wait a month before we get paid?

    Reply
    • Dear Gail,

      Universal Credit is paid one month in arrears. The DWP says that typically new claimants will receive their first payment 1 month and 7 days after making a claim.

      For claimants who are going to be transferred on to Universal Credit from an existing claim, there will be cash protection to ensure that there are no gaps in your claim and that you are not worse off under Universal Credit.

      Reply
  • Hi have 2 children aged 5 & 9 I am currently separating from my husband ,& will have a lump sum of£50,000 . I will be starting work for 20hrs in sept and would like to get a mortgage. With wtc and ct credits taken into account I would have a chance of getting a small mortgage (about 45000) also I need to work for 6 months to apply for one. However with UC I won’t be entitled to the equivilant of the current tax credits because I have a lump sum and therefore I would be unable to get a mortgage on my wage & CB alone so Would I have to rent until I only had 16000? How come if I already had a mortgage I would then get more money? Is there some sort of waiting period where I be able to get the extra help whilst I try to apply for a mortgage?

    Reply
    • Dear Sue,

      People with savings of over £16,000 will not be eligible for Universal Credit. However, there is a six-month grace period for people who come into money suddenly (redundancy, bequeathed). Policy and Practice has argued that the savings limit should be higher which you can read more about here.

      Universal Credit will only begin to affect existing claimants in April 2014 and it is expected that it will only be rolled out fully by 2017. So, it is likely that it may be some time before you will need to claim Universal Credit.

      Under Universal Credit you would only be eligible for mortgage support payments if you are out of work, and since you will be working, you would not be eligible. There will also be a waiting period for mortgage support payments (still undecided) and you can only receive this for a maximum of two years.

      Reply
  • how many hours work can one do b4 it effect ,ones universal credit…. or how much can one earn b4 it effect ones universal credit…….i am a single person and i understand i will get £350 a week universal credit…… thanks

    Reply
    • Dear Sheila,

      Under Universal Credit, it is not a set number of hours worked that will affect your benefits, it is the amount you earn. This is called an ‘earnings disregard’ or ‘work allowance’ – the amount you can earn without your benefits being affected. You can use the Universal Credit calculator to find this out for your circumstances. It is detailed in Step Two, labelled ‘Work Allowance’.

      Also note that £350/week is the benefit cap set for single people. This is the maximum amount that you can receive. Depending on your circumstances, what you will actually receive may be different. You can use the calculator to get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you will be entitled to.

      Reply
  • How will this new system work for farmers who work over 50 hours a week and still make losses at the end of the year? We can’t predict weather or illness / disease that effects livestock / crops on a month to month basis. Should all farmers claiming credits choose a different career and the country lose it’s agricultural heritage?

    Reply
    • Dear Sam,

      If you are self-employed and are concerned about the Minimum Income Threshold, this post on Universal Credit for the self-employed could be helpful to you. You will have a year to meet the Minimum Income Threshold and will be given this opportunity every five years. If you have a bad year outside of these times, you will get less support under Universal Credit. Unfortunately, this is a risk of your business. Do you think that the government should cover the business risks for farmers? Is it possible that you could be eligible for a subsidy?

      Reply
  • When you apply online for Universal Credit do you know how you will provide prove of your rent and tenancy and also how you will provide prove of any future increases should your landlord increase your rent in line with inflation?

    Reply
    • Dear Brian,

      As with the current system, you will need to provide evidence of your rent and tenancy, as well as advise of any rent increases. Currently you would do this by handing in these documents to Housing Options at your Local Authority. Under Universal Credit, you will need to provide these documents to the DWP. This will most likely be by mailing them in or taking them to your local Job Centre branch. However, the exact process is being determined as part of the pathfinder.

      Reply
  • selina saville
    April 22, 2013 10:16

    looks like I will be better off on new system, can you opt in to change over now?

    Reply
    • Dear Selina,

      It is great to hear that the new system will benefit you. Existing claims will only begin being transferred over to Universal Credit in April 2014, so it may be a while before you can transfer over to the new system. Unfortunately, you cannot opt into the system sooner.

      Reply
  • why has universal credit not been applied to inner london?
    when will it be applied?

    Reply
    • Dear Leonie,

      Universal Credit is being rolled out slowly, starting with pilots in the Greater Manchester area, to make sure that everything is working as it should. It will start to affect new claimants in other parts of the country from October 2013. From April 2014, people with a significant change of circumstances (for example, a new job, or moving home) will begin to be transferred over to Universal Credit. Then from April 2014, current claimants will slowly be moved over to Universal Credit. All claims should be on the Universal Credit system by 2017.

      Reply
  • I really dont understand the information given for universal credit. The information given shows that once universal credit starts it will cover my rent but not my council tax as it does presently o job seekers allowance. So if i have to pay that out of my own benefits it will leave about £53 a week to live on, thats gas, electric, phone, water, foods, travel and any other bills etc. And im paying off a socila fund loan i had about 2 years ago at £6.69 per week. they wont lower the payments ive asked. How am i going to live? If i ever do get offered a job how am i going to manage to get to work each day until i start getting the monthly salary? I think they give you a £100 back to work grant but that wont carry me for several weeks till i start getting my pay, of course i wont be able to travel to work in the first place. Its just a whole mess.

    Reply
    • deven.ghelani
      April 5, 2013 23:35

      Dear Jean,
      Thanks for your comment – the number of changes to welfare is making it difficult to understand exactly how the changes will affect you. However, the government hopes that they will make work more worthwhile. Council tax support sits outside of Universal Credit. You may get less council tax support than you used to, but you are unlikely to have to pay the full amount. Your local authority will have more information on these changes.
      I hope this helps. Deven.

      Reply
  • What will happen to low-income workers who are sensibly making provision for their retirement in the form of additional voluntary contributions to a pension plan under Universal Credit?

    Under Working Tax Credit, you must work 30 hours a week, but you are then free to decide how much you wish to contribute to a pension plan without facing the loss or sanction of your WTC. Contributions are deducted from gross income in calculating eligibility for WTC; i.e. your income is considered to have fallen by as much as the pension contribution amount, and your eligibility for WTC increases appropriately.

    However, from what I can tell, under Universal Credit, a person working 30 hours a week as a checkout operator at Tesco or Sainsburys – and who is part of their workplace pension plan but wishes to make a monthly contribution of £100 gross to a stakeholder pension plan on top, would find themselves under threat of sanction under the ‘in-work conditionality’ clause of Universal Credit for ‘not earning enough’.

    They might be struggling to find better-paid work for a variety of legitimate reasons, and because of family commitments, for health reasons, or for lack of overtime availability, be unable to work over 35 hours a week, to compensate for this.

    So the only way out of this would be for them to stop pension contributions, and jeopardise their retirement plans.

    Universal Credit would therefore have the effect of penalising low-income workers who are thinking of their future and planning for their retirement. It will pressurise people into reducing pension contributions, and leave low-income workers facing poverty in old age.

    By contrast, higher-income workers would be free to contribute generously to their pension plans, and they would not only benefit from increased UC payments but they would not be subject to UC sanctions or ‘in-work conditionality’ pressure, and indeed might even find themselves receiving UC for the first time, if their pension payments take them below the ‘maximum’ salary earnable under UC.

    UC shouldn’t unfairly penalise low-income workers in this way. 35 hours should be considered enough for anyone, and nobody working 35 hours should be badgered to work more.

    Reply
    • deven.ghelani
      April 3, 2013 14:15

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks for your comment. I think there are some details in the regulations that will reassure you.
      – In work conditionality under Universal Credit will be calculated on the basis of gross income, with a fit and able adult without caring responsibilities expected to earn 35 hours x National minimum wage. (see my post on in-work conditionality, based on the DWP briefing notes).
      – Universal Credit is withdrawn on the basis of net income, i.e. gross income less income tax, national insurance contributions and pension contributions (according the latest version of the Universal Credit regulations). It should not in this case discourage pension contributions.
      I hope this helps. Thanks again.
      Deven.

      Reply
  • karen Dominique
    February 12, 2013 11:32

    how will you get housing benefit if one is a pensioner and one is not

    Reply
    • Dear Karen,

      In the future, pension credit will include a housing element (called housing credit- equivalent to housing benefit).

      If when Universal Credit is introduced in your area, both of you are above pensionable age you will not be affected. In addition, if one of you is claiming pension credit at this time, you will continue to receive Pension Credit, which will include a housing element.

      If a pensioner is not receiving Pension Credit when Universal Credit comes into effect, the pensioner will no longer be able to claim Pension Credit. They will be treated as a working age household. This means that the younger partner will have to claim Universal Credit for the household instead which will include the housing element.

      For households that are of working age when UC is introduced, when one partner reached pension age the household will continue to receive Universal Credit, which will include a housing element.

      Note that the base element of Universal Credit is likely to be less than Pension Credit. So, if a household is entitled to claim pension credit before Universal Credit is introduced, they may be better off making a Pension Credit claim so that they can continue to receive this in the future.

      Reply
  • I blog often and I seriously thank you for your content.
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    Reply
  • i’m in the Support Group of ESA and according to the calculator i will be better off on Universal Credit!

    i know it’s quite a while until UC takes over, but i wondered how often it will be paid?
    my benefits have always been paid fortnightly. i wouldn’t mind if i was paid weekly, but monthly would make my life difficult.

    Reply
    • Hi Julie, 
      Universal Credit will be paid monthly except in exceptional circumstances. Can you describe how this would make your life difficult?  
      I look forward to hearing from you.
      Deven. 

      Reply
  • Francesca Bostanli
    December 1, 2012 15:29

    Well – it appears that my income from benefits will remain the same as it is now which is a relief because I could ill-afford to lose any of it.

    Just a thought … whilst I appreciate that the government has to make changes to the welfare system to simplify it, encourage people with kids to work and save money, I find the introduction of the bedroom tax absolutely disgusting for two reasons:  a) I believe that every social tenant should be allowed to live in a house with ONE spare bedroom and not be penalised – all people (rich and poor) have commitment to family and grown up children may sometimes need to come home and grandchildren may also need support (especially in the uncertain/jobless economic times that we find ourselves in).  b)  Whilst I believe that people should be charged for a second spare room (this is perfectly fair and reasonable) why oh why are pensioners (yet again) let off the hook?  In our town there are hordes of single pensioners under-occupying 3-bed properties – this is an absolute joke – firstly, their bills are unaffordable, maintainence of the home becomes an issue and there are many local families financially suffering in private-rented accommodation.  Secondly, older people should be encouraged to move to more suitable accommodation before it is too late for them to do so – the whole policy is ludicrous.

    Okay – I’ve said my piece.  Many thanks. 

    Reply
    • Hi Francesca,
      Thanks for your comment, really interesting points.
      What would you say to people living in flats that are too small for them, needing another bedroom for their large family, but unable to find one? Young families that are struggling in work often complain about this situation. The best solution would be to build more homes to tackle high housing costs. This takes time, but it takes time for people affected by the under-occupation charge to find a smaller property too. A lot will depend on how this is implemented.
      A very good point about pensioners. I have been making a similar point about council tax support.
      Good to hear from you, do feel free to respond if you want to continue the discussion.
      Deven.

      Reply
      • Francesca Bostanli
        December 6, 2012 11:44

        Thanks Deven – I was one of those people who was squeezed into a property that was too small and I was lucky enough to qualify for social housing and it has worked out very well for me.

        The families I mention that are struggling in private rents are sometimes also the ones that are over occupying because they want to save money.

        Let’s face it – this whole problem could have been avoided if the lovely Mrs. Thatcher had made sure that councils put the money back into new housing when they had it rolling in on the ‘right to buy’ scheme – we are really paying the price for that now!

        I think we are going to see rising levels of homelessness for families simply because the appropriate accommodation won’t be available for those that want to downsize and also some people will find it too costly to move to a smaller place – new flooring, curtains, the cost of removal etc – a lot of people simply don’t have adequate income to finance this and I’m sure it will get worse what with George Frogspawns continuing assault on the poor – but let’s not forget – we are all a bunch of losers who lie in bed with the curtains shut – drinking, fornicating, shooting up smack, raising our kids the wrong way, buying massive flatscreens, being anti-social and not being able to string a sentence together!!

        Many people in my community work hard but for low wages which, let’s face it, only service profiteering management who aren’t interested in paying everyone a living wage (which would negate the need for high levels of benefit).

        What to do?

        I’ve come down from my soap box but these are the things that really rattle my cage. 

        Reply
        • theresa maung
          February 27, 2013 16:22

          i think the whole housing system is due to bad allocation. there is estimated 6 million under occupied social homes and 1.8 million families living in over crowded home, and as for building new homes , there needs to be affordable homes built as you can build them but if no one can afford them theres just no point.

          Reply
  • I know that tax credits, housing benefit and council tax will all become part of Universal Credit. I was wondering if you know how a student will be catergorised by UC. At the moment a student is classed as ‘not working’ by the tax office so if their partner worked, they would not be entitled to working tax credit but at the same time, their ‘income’ through bursaries or grants is not included. However, from a council tax and housing benefit point of view, this ‘income’ is included and the payments made on this basis. 
    Will this be done differently on UC?

    Reply
    • Hello Lilu,
      It is currently unclear how education will be treated under universal credit. Students may be expected to take on the costs of supporting themselves and pay for this through higher future earnings (as under tax credits and JSA). However, the regulations are unclear and are currently being scrutinised by the SSAC, students may yet be entitled to UC support.
      Bursaries may be treated as a Universal Credit equivalent (which would lead to a pound for pound reduction in Universal Credit support) but it is perhaps more likely it will be treated in the same way as earnings. You would keep your housing support, and have your universal credit fall away at a rate of 65p in every pound of bursary above the earning disregard level. You would keep a percentage of the additional earnings from work that you did.
      I gave a longer response on another blog post to this if you want to take a look at that, however it is unclear until the regulations are finalised. Best, Deven.

      Reply
      • I would like to know how a single parent who home educates her 13 year old will be considered within this new system. It has been stated that parents of children between 5 & 13 are expected to work within school hours. I cannot find anything that takes into account home educators. This single parent also runs a full time business wrapped around home education. I appreciate any advice, thank you.

        Reply
        • Dear Jane,

          At present there is nothing in the regulations or guidance about home educators. It is expected that they will be need to meet conditionality like other parents.

          Under Universal Credit, conditionality is about earnings rather than hours. A lone parent with a child aged 13 would be expected to meet a minimum income threshold that is equivalent to working 16 hours x national minimum wage (£6.19) = £430.35 per month. Their work hours do not have to be during school time and they do not have to work 16 hours if they are earning a higher wage.

          For example, the parent could work 10 hours per week, earning £10/hr (which is £434.32 per month) and still meet this threshold. Again, these work hours do not have to be during school time.

          Additionally, it seems that the person you are asking about is self-employed. If this is the case, they will have 12 months to meet this minimum income threshold and will be given the opportunity to do so every 5 years. Your can read more about self-employment here.

          I hope that helps.

          Reply
  • Type your comment here
    My husband is a full time student getting a bursary (£7500). I am looking after our two children, both under two years old one under one). If I work, we do not get Working tax credit. We would lose money toward housing costs (rent £575pm). 

    The calculator does not allow me to enter an ‘income’ for my husband. Currently tax office do not class it as income yet the Council do. How will it be classified? Will we still be able to claim toward childcare? Note that the ‘income’ my husband gets as bursary would be lower than minimum wage. Therefore I doubt we are better off ‘in work’. I’d say we would be much better off on benefits as our situation does not take any of this into account and we don’t get any money toward fuel/heating costs that people on benefits would get.

    Reply
    • Hello,
      It is unclear how education will be treated under universal credit. Having made the choice to be in full time education, students may be expected to take on the costs of supporting themselves and pay for this through higher future earnings. The regulations are unclear and are currently being scrutinised by the SSAC, so you may yet be entitled to UC support.
      If you were eligible for Universal Credit, your husbands bursary may be treated as a Universal Credit equivalent (which would lead to a pound for pound reduction in Universal Credit support) but it is perhaps more likely it will be treated in the same way as earnings. You would keep your housing support, and have your universal credit fall away at a rate of 65p in every pound of bursary above the earning disregard level. You would keep a percentage of the additional earnings from work that you did. You will be able to claim toward childcare under Universal Credit.
      I hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Hi Deven,

        Thanks for your reply. Looking at entitlements, we actually get £20 less than what people on benefits would be getting (the rent is capped for LHA). NHS bursaries cover a maximum of £180pw for childcare. Extra would normally come from ‘working tax credit’ which you don’t get if you are ‘working in hospitals’ as student. The £20 deficit can not be filled with anything other than work I may get (but then I would pay more on childcare). This is because you can not get Income Support if you are a couple and you can not get JSA if you are looking after children.  

        It seems that under UC we would be no better off, that it is better to not be working than to get vocational study/work to better yourself to get a job. 

        It is useful to know that 65p of every pound can be kept but much of this will depend on the maximum that you can actually claim through childcare. If you go to work before your kids are 3years old, you do not get any discounts and so women do not benefit from going to work until after this it seems. Such a shame because I was always the breadwinner until redundancy. I hope students is an area Government looks at because due to job losses and expense of student fees, more and more people will leave study till later and thus more likely to have children. Currently a grey area. 

        Reply
        • Hello again.
          You make important points. Full time education is treated differently to benefits because it is seen as a choice, an investment from which you hope to benefit from later (through higher earnings, a better job) while unemployment is seen as involuntary. I think you are arguing that perhaps this should not be the case?
          The Social Security Advisory Committee are looking at the regulations regarding full time education. I will post when these are finalised.
          Deven.

          Reply
          • Yes that is correct. The reason is because my husband is a mature student who would otherwise be unemployed if he were not studying and at very best have several temporary jobs earning minimum wage and thus relying on housing benefits for top ups (basically in same position as now). Although we would receive more money in benefits and open door to other benefits (e.g. fuel help), we have decided to not allow this to trap us. We are lucky to have good friends and family but what of those that do not have this? Better we struggle for 3 years than forever.

            The system basically says; do nothing, ‘show that you are looking for work’ and that’s all you need to do. If you try to find opportunities you are penalised. 

            Thank you, I’d be very interested to see what they have to say. Please contact me should you need any information from me.
            Best regards, Lilu 

          • Thank you. Will do. Deven.

  • Gary170459
    June 3, 2012 22:41

    Hello,

    As someone who will hopefully be at the coalface in Oct 2013 when UC starts, I fervently hope that it will be as easy to understand and operate as your Calculator would suggest. I fear it will not be, as going on bitter experience the training for it (and therefore an understanding of it) will probably be a few hours if we’re lucky!

    Good luck

    Gary    

    Reply

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