Universal Credit

Universal Credit will change from Live Service to Full Service in Tameside from 7 March 2018.
If you already claim Universal Credit, your claim will change in you have a change in circumstances. You do not need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Full Service Universal Credit.

Who will be claiming Universal Credit?

Universal Credit may be claimed in all areas of Tameside.

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

People who are making a new claim for any of the above Department of Work and Pensions benefits may be entitled to claim Universal Credit.
For many people Universal Credit covers housing costs, so they don’t have to make a separate Housing Benefit claim. You’ll still need to claim Housing Benefit if you:

  • Have three or more children; or
  • Live in supported accommodation
  • Are Pension Credit age.

Please click here to see if you can claim Universal Credit

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.

Where can you find more information about Universal Credit?

The Department of Work and Pensions has produced some guides   

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 0800 328 5644 .

All calls to Universal Credit are free.

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.

Will I get Free School Meals?

You will not be able to claim Free School Meals within Universal Credit.
You will need to claim separately for Free School Meals and evidence will need to be provided to Tameside Council.

How is Tameside MBC involved?

Tameside Council has agreed to be involved in the delivery of the following services.

  • On-line activity
  • Personal Budgeting Support
  • 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.

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.

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.

A person who is entitled to Universal Credit may also be able to claim the following passported benefits: