Universal Credit to be rolled out across Cheltenham

Published on 7th November 2017

Stacks of pound coins image: www.freeimages.co.uk

New benefit claimants in Cheltenham will need to apply for Universal Credit (UC) when it comes into effect in December.

The majority of new claims in postcode areas GL50 and GL51 will move to UC from 6 December, with postcodes GL52 and GL53 from 17 January 2018.

UC is administered and paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and people apply for it on-line at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. Customers who do not have access to the internet at home will be able to use computers at various locations around the borough*.

Universal Credit is being phased in for people who make new claims. Existing claimants will continue to receive housing benefit from the council under the previous system unless there is a significant change affecting their claim. Once a person begins to receive UC they will no longer claim and be paid housing benefit by the council.

UC brings together six benefits and tax credits and replaces them with a single monthly payment.

It replaces:

  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

It is a working age benefit, which means that single people of pension credit age and couples where both members are pension credit age cannot claim it. These people will not be affected by the changes and they will continue to receive pension credit and claim housing benefit from Cheltenham Borough Council instead. The only other people who will still receive housing benefit paid by the council after this date, when they make a brand new claim will be families with over two children and clients who live in certain types of accommodation where support is provided.

Council tax support which is a reduction on the council tax bill will still be administered by the council and all customers, regardless of whether they move to UC, should continue to contact the Council.

Councillor Roger Whyborn member for corporate services said: “Over the next few weeks as the live date approaches, we will be taking steps to ensure that people moving to Universal Credit from housing benefit will be supported through the transition. We will be working with external agencies, including the Jobcentre, the Department for Work and Pensions and local housing and advice providers to ensure that the impact of this major welfare reform change is minimised. We will be ensuring that existing housing benefit customers are aware that should their circumstances change in the future they are likely to have to claim Universal Credit.’’

Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), the biggest landlord in the borough who manages approximately 5,000 homes on behalf of the council, has been proactively preparing social housing tenants in the run up to the introduction of UC.

Paul Stephenson, CEO at CBH said; “We’ve been preparing for the potential challenges of UC for some time now and we are confident that the support, offered by our dedicated team of expert advisors, will help tenants through the transition to this new benefits system. As well as an extensive awareness raising campaign, we have made home visits to all current tenants we forecast to be affected and we are providing guidance to all new tenants to help them understand how to claim UC.”

For further information visit cheltenham.gov.uk/benefits

For any specific concerns or questions about these changes then please email benefits@cheltenham.gov.uk or contact the benefits helpline on 01242 264341


For media enquiries, contact: Jemima Lawson, communications officer, telephone 01242 775050, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk.

Venues with computer access

Venue

Days and times

Restrictions

Computers available

Cheltenham Borough Homes

Digi Den

Hesters Way Community Resource Centre Cassin Drive

GL51 7SU

Monday and Wednesday

11am – 1pm (Job Club)

Wednesday

1pm – 3pm (drop-in)

The Digi Den is run by CBH but they do allow non tenants to access their computers

12

Oakley Resource Centre

Clyde Crescent

GL52 5QJ

Tues and Thurs (Job Club) 11am – 1pm

Monday – Friday

9:30am – 1pm

(if you don’t need any assistance)

 

12

Cheltenham First Stop

301— 305 High Street

GL50 3HW

Telephone:01242 228999 (for an appointment)

Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

If you need someone to assist you then you will need to make an appointment.

If you drop-in then please be aware there may not be a PC free.

5

Cheltenham Job Centre

7 North St

Cheltenham

GL50 4DJ

Monday—Friday, 9am - 5pm

10am on a Wednesday

Drop in

Advisers on hand if needed.

Free Wi-Fi is also available if you want to take your tablet or smartphone

8

P3

1 Prestbury Rd, Cheltenham

GL52 2PN

Monday – Friday

11am – 5pm

Assistance can be provided if necessary

2

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army

39 Bath Road Cheltenham

GL53 7HG

Monday (Job Club)

10am to 1pm

Volunteers available if needed

6