Universal Credit
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Universal Credit – updates – What you should know

Universal Credit is being roled-out as part of the Government’s Welfare Reform Agenda, claimants would be migrated from Income base Job-Seekers Allowance, Income related employment Support Allowance, Tax Credits, Housing Benefits, Working & Child Tax Credits etc.

Payment is made on monthly basis straight into the Claimant’s bank account. Therefore all claimants must have bank account which accepts electronic payments, they should also have access to the internet, improve their internet skills, sort out best ways to manage their finances amongst others. You will find lots of information on the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) websites.

In most cases, your landlord will require you to fill Alternative Payment Arrangement form so that your housing cost/element of the Universal Credit will be paid directly to the Landlord to avoid rent further rent arrears and therefore breach of tenancy agreement which may lead you to lose your home.

Conditionality & Claimant Commitments

Everyone who receives Universal Credit will be placed in a conditionality group based on their circumstances and work capability. The group you are in will determine what is expected of you during your claim.

No work-related requirements

You will be placed in this group if you are earning above your earnings threshold. This is based on what you would earn if you worked for 35 hours a week at the National Minimum Wage. If you have caring responsibilities your threshold may be lower than this.

You will also be placed in this group if you:

Have limited capability for work-related activity (LCWRA)

Receive the carers element or are providing care for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week

Are responsible for a child under the age of one

Have reached Pension Credit age (but are part of a UC claim because your partner has not)

Are pregnant and it is 15 weeks or less until your expected week of childbirth

Are an adopter (this is for up to one year after the adoption)

Are a young person with no parental support and you are in full time non-advanced education

Work-focused interview requirement only

You will be placed in this group if you are responsible for a child between the ages of one and under three or you are a foster carer for a child under 16, or 18 if the child has extra care needs. If you are in this group you will be required to stay in touch with the labour market by attending work-focused interviews. These are regular interviews to discuss plans and opportunities for returning to work in the future.

You will not be required to apply for, or take up a job, or engage in work preparation activity.

Work preparation requirement only

You will be placed in this group if you are assessed as having limited capability for work (LCW). If you are placed in this group, you will be expected to prepare for a move into work, additional work, or better paid work. Actions to get ready for work could include attending training courses, preparing a CV or taking part in the Work Programme.

You will not be required to take steps to apply for or take up work as a condition of your claim.

All work-related requirements

This is the full conditionality group, if you are in this group you will be required to look for and be available for work. You will usually be expected to look for full-time work of 35 hours a week but this can be less in certain circumstances, for example if you have caring responsibilities or have p physical or mental health problems.

In-work conditionality

You might face conditionality requirements even though you are already in work. This will be the case if your income is below your earnings threshold. The threshold is based on what you would earn if you worked for 35 hours a week at the national minimum wage. Though if you have caring responsibilities, your threshold may be lower than this.

If you are claiming as a couple DWP will look at whether you are earning above your threshold as a couple.

If you are earning below your threshold you will be expected to make efforts to increase your income. The DWP suggest that this may include increasing the hours you work, finding additional work or finding a new job with a higher income.