Universal Credit and Benefit changes

View the Universal Credit calculator here 

Universal Credit

This payment will include an amount to go towards your rent. You need to make sure you pay your rent yourself. If Universal Credit doesn’t cover the full amount you will need to make arrangements to pay the difference. For more information on Universal Credit, go to the Government’s information pages.

DWP have produced an 8 minute video demonstrating the new Universal Credit Full Service online claim and account. You may find it useful to watch the video, that is available on you tube, to familiarise yourself with the new Universal Credit claim process. The video is available following this link.

Find out if you can claim universal credit full service or live by following this link

Housing benefit

Your local council can pay this directly to us, but you have to tell the benefit office to do this. If housing benefit doesn’t cover all of your rent you’ll have to make up the difference. If your rent goes up you need to tell the housing benefit office (we’ll also inform the office of any rent changes).

For more information on housing benefit, go to the Government’s information pages

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, or if your housing benefit stops for any reason, please contact whg Income Collection immediately. We can help and advise.

If you would like support to make a benefits claim please contact the whg Money Advice Service.

Welfare Reform and benefits

The government has announced a series of changes to the welfare and benefits system. You need to know how the changes could affect you if you receive benefits, or whether you may now be eligible for government support. The benefits system is designed to provide help and financial support for people who are:

  • on a low household income
  • bringing up children
  • retired
  • caring for someone
  • ill
  • disabled
  • unemployed

Universal Credit

The Government is replacing a number of benefits for households of working age with a new system called Universal Credit. If you’re entitled to this benefit, you’ll receive it as a single monthly payment.

The benefits Universal Credit will replace include:

  • income support
  • income-based job seekers’ allowance
  • employment and support allowance
  • housing benefit
  • child tax credit
  • working tax credit.

If you need advice or support with Universal Credit please contact whg Money Advice Service on - 0300 555 6666

How do I prepare for Universal Credit?

For more information, visit the Government’s website on Universal Credit or view a full service overview video on You Tube.The overview includes setting up an account and claiming Universal Credit.

18-21 years old new tenants in full service universal credit will not be able to claim housing costs, Click here to know when universal credit is arriving in your area.

You will need to claim universal credit on-line:

Do you have access to the internet and you can manage your claim on line?

If you need assistance with using the internet please complete our self referral form.

Council Tax Support

If you’re liable for council tax, you may be able to get help with your bill through your local council tax support scheme, or may qualify for an exemption or discount. Each Council runs their own scheme. To find out about the scheme for your area click here

and enter your postcode. REMEMBER TO CLAIM COUNCIL TAX SUPPORT SEPERATELY IF YOU ARE CLAIMING UNIVERSAL CREDIT.

Child Tax Credit

From 6 April 2017 if you are responsible for a child born on or after this date, and already get Child Tax Credit or Universal Credit for two or more other children, you may not receive any additional payments for the third or subsequent child.

This doesn't affect you if you receive Child Benefit, payments made for disabled children where Disability Living Allowance (DLA) has been awarded or childcare, or if you are already receiving help for more than 2 children. This only affects you if you have a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017.

If you have two children, but are not claiming any benefits for an older child (as they may be over 16 and no longer in applicable full time education, or may have left home) then if you have another child on or after 6 April 2017 you can get the child element.

If you are not receiving either of these benefits currently and have to make a new claim, even if you have three or more children, if they were born before 6 April 2017 you will be able to get help for all your children. Your claim will be for tax credits, even if you live in an area where Universal Credit is in place for families.

The family element (or "first child premium" in Universal Credit) will also be abolished for families where the eldest child is born on or after 6 April 2017.

There are some exemptions for children born after 6 April 2017 such as multiple births, so for more information on exemptions please click here or contact the whg money advice service.

Personal Independence Payments

Previously, customers with a disability could claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help them live a full and independent life.

From June 2013, this payment was replaced for 16-64 year olds with the new Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Customers who began claiming DLA before the new system was introduced won’t be automatically transferred across. Even if you’ve been awarded DLA without any time limits, you’ll need to make a claim for the new payment. At some point you’ll be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions, who will ask you to fill in a claim form. If you receive a letter 'inviting you to claim' this means your DLA will stop on the date given in the letter - unless you make a new claim for PIP.

The Department for Work and Pensions’ decision about any award will be based on evidence from doctors, consultants, nurses and other medically-qualified professionals. If an award is given, it will be made for a fixed period of time only.

If you’re already claiming DLA, you’ll be invited to claim:

  • by October 2015: If you report a change in your condition or reach the end of a fixed-period DLA award
  • by October 2015: If you’re a young person receiving DLA who turns 16 during this time
  • from October 2015: If your circumstances don’t change and your fixed-period DLA award hasn’t run out between October 2013 and 2015.

The claims process for PIP can be confusing and complicated. If you would like support with your PIP application we can help.

Visit the Government’s website for more information.

Benefit Cap

The Welfare Reform and Work Act (2016) introduces some changes to the benefit cap. These changes, which will take effect in autumn 2016, include changes to the benefit cap levels to £20,000 a year for couples with or without children and lone parents and £13,400 for single people without children for Great Britain (outside of London) They also include additional exemptions for recipients of Guardian’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Universal Credit claimants who receive payments towards carer’s costs.

If the amount you receive is more than the Government’s limit, your benefit will be cut. The Department for Work and Pension’s benefit cap calculator will help you work out how you might be affected.

You can be exempt from benefit cap if you qualify for Working Tax Credit or you or your partner had been in employment for at least 50 weeks out of the 52 weeks before you last day of work.

If you are looking to return to work please contact our employment support team.

Should you need further advice, or support with budgeting in preparation for the changes please contact whg Money Advice Services.

Under-Occupancy

Families of working age who have more bedroom space than they need in their home will have their Housing Benefit or housing costs cut under the Government’s new rules. The amount it will be cut by is:

  • 14% for one spare room
  • 25% for two or more spare rooms.

This charge is also known as the “bedroom tax”. It only affects households whose members are below state retirement age. 

We can also help by assisting you to complete an application for Discretionary Housing Payments (a fund held by most local councils) which can be awarded to make up reduced payments, if you are experiencing difficulties and you have taken steps to improve your situation, this will include moving to a smaller accommodation and employment.

Benefits are tailored to your individual situation. They will change if your situation changes, or if the benefits system changes. check whg budgeting calculator.

Housing Benefits

Everyone who is on a low income and in rented accommodation can speak to their council about the possibility of claiming housing benefit (HB).  HB is a benefit that is in place to assist those on a low income (either working or on benefits) to pay their rent, it may be that you are eligible for HB to pay your full rent, or just a top up towards the payments you are making yourself.  There are some specific criteria around whether they can assist you, so just check the governments website to see if you could apply, and how.  whg Money Advice Service Team can help you apply if you need some help, or have applied in the past and have been turned down. Please contact us on 0300 555 6666

Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance will affect all universal credit and housing benefit claimants from April 2019.

Local housing allowance is the benefit rate set by the government based on your household size and location.

To find the your Local Housing Allowance rate click here.

If you are 35 years old or under and do not have any dependent children living with you, the maximum benefit you will receive towards your rent will be a shared accommodation rate- even if you do not share your home with anyone else. We can assist you to downsize and plan for this change. Contact whg Money Advice.