Universal Credit and Benefit changes

Getting ready for Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit system replacing many of the current benefits and tax credits.  It is for working age individuals, including single parents. You can claim it whether you have a job or not.

All other claimants will be gradually transferred to Universal Credit between 2016 and 2019. Scroll down to see when this will affect you.

Universal Credit will be a big change for your family’s finances – so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared for the switchover.  We’re here to support you, but there are different ways that you can start to prepare so we’ve put together some tips to help you be ready for Universal Credit.

  • When Universal Credit is introduced you will get one monthly payment for all benefits at once. You may need to change the way you manage your money each month.  Our online Benefit and Budgeting Calculator can help you to plan your monthly income and spending:

Benefits and Budgeting Calculator

  • Housing Benefit and rent payments. You may currently have your Housing benefit paid directly to us, but when Universal Credit is introduced, you will be responsible for paying your rent to whg. Universal Credit payments will usually include an amount to go towards your rent. If Universal Credit doesn’t cover the full amount, you will need to make arrangements to pay the difference. 
  • Mind the gap! When you first claim Universal Credit you will have to wait over a month (almost 7 weeks) before you receive your first payment.  Make sure your rent account is in credit to prepare for this. 
  • Make sure you have a bank or building society account, or an account with a credit union for your payments. If you don’t already have one our Money Advice Team can help you with this.
  • Make sure you have access to the internet. You’ll be expected to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online. If you require help with getting online or need some training contact our Click Start team.
  • Keep your Universal Credit password safe. If you forget it or lose it, you will have to make an appointment at your Jobcentre Plus to reset it.
  • Set up a Direct Debit. This helps to ensure your rent account is kept up to date.

More information about Universal Credit on the GOV.UK website.

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).

More information about Housing Benefit on the GOV.UK website. 

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, or if your Housing Benefit stops for any reason, please contact us as soon as possible.

If you would like support to make a benefits claim, the whg Money Advice Service are on hand to help.

Universal Credit rollout dates:

Job centre areas

Full Service

Website

Birmingham

December 2017

www.birmingham.gov.uk

Bromsgrove

September 2018

www.bromsgrove.gov.uk

Cannock Chase

November 2018

www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk

Dudley

July 2017

www.dudley.gov.uk

Lichfield

November 2017

www.lichfielddc.gov.uk

Malvern

September 2018

www.malvernhills.gov.uk

Redditch

October 2017

www.redditchbc.gov.uk

Sandwell

November 2018

www.sandwell.gov.uk

Solihull

July 2017

www.solihull.gov.uk

South Staffordshire

November 2018

www.sstaffs.gov.uk

Stafford

November 2018

www.staffordbc.gov.uk

Tamworth

November 2017

www.tamworth.gov.uk

Telford and Wrekin

November 2018

www.telford.gov.uk

Walsall: Brownhills Jobcentre Plus, Willenhall Jobcentre Plus

July 2018

www.walsall.gov.uk

Walsall: Brownhills Jobcentre Plus, Willenhall Jobcentre Plus

October 2018

www.walsall.gov.uk

Warwick

October 2018

www.warwickshire.gov.uk

Wolverhampton

December 2017

www.wolverhampton.gov.uk

Worcester

October 2018

www.worcester.gov.uk/welfarereform

Wychavon

November 2018

www.wychavon.gov.uk