What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new working-age benefit which has been introduced gradually across the country as part of the government’s welfare reforms. The aim of UC is to simplify the benefits system by replacing a range of benefits and tax credits.
It is a benefit for anyone on a low to moderate income and it does not matter whether you are in or out of work, or how many hours you work. This is because it is a means-tested benefit which means that your entitlement depends on income, savings and personal circumstances.
It is a benefit for people of working age, which means that single people of pension credit age, and couples where both members are pension credit age cannot claim it (they claim pension credit and housing benefit instead). Couples where one member is under pension credit age will need to claim UC unless they are already on pension credit.
What benefits has it replaced?
UC brings together six benefits and tax credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment.
- Income-based jobseekers allowance
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income support
- Child tax credit
- Working tax credit
- Housing benefit
All other benefits not included in the above list will continue to be paid as usual, such as child benefit, carers allowance and council tax support.
When is it being introduced?
Full Service was introduced in Cheltenham on 6 December 2017.
New benefit claimants
If you are a new claimant you must use the Universal Credit system. However, new claimants with three or more children will not move to the new system, they will continue to claim 'legacy' benefits such as tax credits, income support etc.
If you are already claiming, you will continue to receive benefits under the previous system unless there is a significant change affecting your claim.
Council tax support
The only other exception is council tax support payments which you will still need to apply for directly from Cheltenham Borough Council.
Please remember that Universal Credit is not dealt with by Cheltenham Borough Council. The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for delivering this benefit.
However, the housing benefits team are available to answer questions about Housing Benefit and the move to Universal Credit. If you need help or advice please call the Benefits Helpline
More detailed information about Universal Credit can be found on the GOV.UK website