Universal Credit for Council Tenants
UNIVERSAL CREDIT AND YOUR RENT INCREASE 5 APRIL 2021
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit you will need to update your claim to include your new rent increase from 5 April 2021.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may have already contacted you and issued you a ‘To Do’ advising you that you need to increase the housing element (rent charge) of your Universal Credit claim immediately via your Journal.
Even if you have not heard from them you must ‘Report a Change’ to notify them of your rent increase, and this applies even if you have an alternative payment arrangement and your rent is currently being paid direct to the Council. If you have a telephone claim you will need to telephone Universal Credit to update your circumstances in the usual way immediately.
Failure to report the change could affect your ongoing payments. Changes can only be backdated to the beginning of the current assessment period so you need to update your housing element (rent charges) now. If you have any questions, or need help or support to adjust to the change please call the rents team on 01322 343134 or complete our online enquiry form.
If your income has been affected as a direct result of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and you are struggling to pay your rent please contact us to discuss how we may be able to help with short term solutions.
Being moved onto Universal Credit? Get in touch with us today.
If you’re claiming any of the six qualifying benefits and are of working age, it will affect you. Contact the Housing Rents Team via 01322 343134 as soon as you apply for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit (UC) is a means tested benefit for working age people. It is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and replaces the following six benefits:
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
For more information about Universal Credit visit GOV.UK.
If Universal Credit affects you, talk to us now, we can help you.
How will I know I need to claim Universal Credit?
If you try to claim one of the six means tested benefits Universal Credit replaces, and you are eligible, you will be advised to claim Universal Credit.
The DWP may advise you to claim Universal Credit if they are aware of a change in your current DWP benefits.
Getting ready for Universal Credit
Universal Credit is administered online. You must have a bank account into which your payments can be made.
When you receive Universal Credit, you will need to think more carefully about how you will budget your money. This is because you may have previously received one payment for your rent (your housing benefit) and a separate payment for your living costs. With Universal Credit you will be receiving just one monthly payment and you will be responsible for paying your rent from this payment.
You can do the following to help get you ready:
- Create an email account
- Set up a bank account with your local bank or building society
- Start putting some money aside as there may be a time when you will need it.
How Universal Credit is awarded
Universal Credit normally takes around five weeks to process from the day you apply. You will be advised when and how much you will be paid in your Universal Credit account. If you’re a tenant you will also see how much of your payment is for housing costs. This is the amount calculated to help towards paying your rent.
When calculating Universal Credit the DWP will use the following information to work out how much Universal Credit you will be entitled to:
- your income
- your savings and capital
- the size and makeup of your household
- your housing costs
Checking your Universal Credit award in your online account
When you receive your award letter in your Universal Credit account, you should check the details about you, your household, your income and capital and your housing costs are correct. Let the DWP know straight away if you think you have received the wrong award.
If your Universal Credit award includes housing costs to pay your rent, it may be less than the rent you’re being charged. If you’re struggling to make up the shortfall, you may be able to get some help from us by claiming a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Changing your payment arrangements
You will need to ask the DWP to pay your Universal Credit housing costs direct to your landlord.
When you claim Universal Credit you will be asked to sign a Claimant Commitment, which means you enter an agreement to complete certain tasks to help you back into work. Claimant Commitments take your circumstances into account. Make sure that your work coach based at your job centre knows about all of your circumstances, especially if you have health problems or caring responsibilities that might mean that you are not always available for work.
It is really important that you understand what you need to do to continue to receive Universal Credit. If you do not keep to the commitment you have made, your Universal Credit payments may be sanctioned.