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Universal Credit

The Universal Credit Pathfinder took place in Tameside from 29 April 2013 to 27 October 2013.

From October 2013, Universal Credit continued in Tameside and began to be introduced across the UK.

Who will be claiming Universal Credit?

Universal Credit may be claimed in all areas of Tameside.

People who are making a new claim for Department for Work and Pensions benefit who would previously have been eligible for Job Seekers Allowance may be entitled to claim Universal Credit..

The person must:

  • be single or a couple
  • be working-age and fit for work
  • be eligible to pay rent or not have housing costs
  • not have, or be awaiting a decision on, a legacy Department of Work and Pensions Benefit or outstanding appeal. This does not include Council Tax Support.

What is it?

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduces a wide range of reforms to:

  • Make the benefits and tax credits system simpler;
  • Create the right incentives to get more people into work;
  • Protect the most vulnerable in our society; and
  • Deliver fairness to those claiming benefit and to the tax payer.

Universal Credit is at the heart of the Act and the Government’s reforms.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income based Job Seekers Allowance
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Currently only Income based Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit will be replaced and only for people who fall into the criteria for being eligible to claim

 

Where can you find more information about Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a Department for Work and Pensions benefit. More information on Universal Credit can be found on GOV.UK Link to External Website.

Use the DWP Universal Credit Personal Planner Link to External Website to find out if you will need to do anything differently to manage a Universal Credit claim.

The following Department for Work and Pensions guides will provide further information:

Making a claim

Claims for Universal Credit should be made on-line at the GOV.UK Universal Credit page Link to External Website.

You need the following to complete a claim:

  • Your National Insurance number
  • Details of a bank, building society or Post Office into which your Universal Credit will be paid
  • Your rent agreement (if you have one)
  • Details of any savings and other capital
  • Details of any non-work income - for example income from an insurance plan
  • Details of any other benefits you already get

View further information Link to External Website

You will not be able to save the online application and go back to it. You must allow time for the form to be completed. It may take between 20 and 40 minutes.

Claims for Universal Credit cannot be backdated except in exceptional circumstances. You must make your claim immediately.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can use the Welfare Reform in Tameside PC Search to find an internet access point.

If you need help to complete your claim, support will be available at:

Please remember to take all your information with you.

In certain circumstances, you may be able to claim by telephone. The telephone number is 0845 600 0723.

You should be aware that you will be charged for the telephone call.

Will help with Council Tax be included in Universal Credit?

You will not be able to claim help with your Council Tax within Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions can no longer accept a claim for Council Tax Support. A separate on-line claim form will be required and evidence will need to be provided to Tameside Council.

Make a claim for Council Tax Support using the online form Link to External Website.

For more information visit the Council Tax Support Scheme page.

The Department for Work and Pensions will only be able to share details of the Customer’s income with Tameside Council for Council Tax Support if the customer gives them authority to do so.

How is Tameside MBC involved?

Tameside Council has agreed to be involved in the delivery of the following services until 31 March 2016:

  • On-line activity
  • Helping people back in to work
  • Keeping Landlords informed
  • Personal Budgeting Support
  • Helping put processes in place for data sharing for the Council Tax Support Scheme

On-line activity

Tameside Council is committed to helping our residents gain access to services via the internet.

  • Claims for Universal Credit will mainly be made on-line at the GOV.UK Univeral Credit page Link to External Website.
  • Tameside’s libraries currently have PCs available for residents to use. Use the Welfare Reform in Tameside PC Search to find an internet access point.
  • To assist with on-line claims for Universal Credit, a new self-service hub is available in the Customer Service Centre in Ashton.
  • In addition, the whole of the Customer Service Centre in Ashton has Wi-Fi to enable staff to help customers in more areas.

Helping people back into work

  • At the same time as claiming Universal Credit, customers will be encouraged to register for Universal Jobmatch. You can find out more information at the GOV.UK Universal Jobmatch page Link to External Website.
  • Tameside Council will also be working with Ashton Jobcentre to find opportunities to promote the Universal Jobmatch and support people back in to work.
  • Tameside will be promoting IT Training centres and courses for customers who need additional support.
  • Tameside Benefits Service will be providing training to staff to improve awareness of the opportunities available within the area.

Keeping Landlords informed

We aim to provide information to Landlords about our involvement in the Universal Credit programme and provide up-dates.

The following Department for Work and Pensions guide will provide further information:

Landlords can request the housing cost element of Universal Credit to be paid to themselves rather than the Tenant where a tenant has accrued rent arrears to the value of two month’s rent or more.

Personal Budgeting Support

We have formed a Partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau until 31 March 2016 to assist customers of Universal Credit with Budgeting and Debt Advice.

CAB is located in the Customer Service area at Clarence Arcade, Ashton-Under-Lyne next to the self-service hub.

The CAB will assist customers to make their rent payments from their Universal Credit award by:

  • helping with bank accounts
  • setting up Standing Orders
  • payments made to the landlord for a short period until the customer can manage their own finances.

In addition to offering Personal Budget Support, the CAB will also be able to support customers in the hub who are completing an on-line form.

CAB will give advice to customers about other benefits or services they can apply for and encourage them to register for the Universal Jobmatch and to apply for Council Tax Support.

You can find out more information at the Citizens Advice Bureau website Link to External Website.

Sharing Data

The Department for Work and Pensions will share information about your Universal Credit claim with Tameside to decide how much Council Tax Support you may be entitled to. You will be asked to give permission to share data during your Universal Credit claim and / or at your Jobcentre Plus interview.

Tameside have worked with the Department for Work and pensions to ensure that data is transferred securely between the departments.

You still have a duty to provide any evidence and information requested by Tameside in support of your claim for Council Tax Support. You also have a duty to report changes on circumstances, in writing, within 21 days of the change occurring. You cannot rely on information being provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

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FAQs for Customers

Visit GOV.UK for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Credit Link to External Website.

FAQs for Landlords

View the Frequently Asked Questions on Universal Credit for Landlords.Link to External Website

I am on Universal Credit, what else can I claim?

You may be entitled to Council Tax Support.

Until 31 March 2016 a person who is entitled to Universal Credit may also be able to claim the following passported benefits: