What is it?
Universal Credit is a benefit for people who are unemployed or on a low income. It replaces Housing Benefit, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Income-related Employment Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment, made direct into your bank account, and you need to apply for it (and manage your claim) online.
Full information about Universal Credit, including how to find out if you are eligible, what you might receive, and how to claim, can be found at www.gov.uk/universalcredit or you can call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644.
How will it affect you?
If you are currently receiving any of the benefits above, nothing will change straight away, but you may have to claim Universal Credit if your circumstances change.
As Universal Credit replaces Housing Benefit and is paid directly to you, you will be responsible for paying your rent to us in full from the day you claim.
It will take time to process your claim and you should expect to wait around five weeks before receiving a payment. You can request an advance payment, which is then repaid from your future payments. You should discuss this option with your Job Centre advisor if you are applying because you are unemployed.
If you are already receiving Housing Benefit when you make a Universal Credit claim this will continue to be paid for two weeks.
How you can prepare
Find out about Universal Credit in your area so that you know what information you may need if you make a claim, and can act quickly if your circumstances change.
Keep your rent account up to date. If you are worried about how you would manage if your circumstances change, consider making extra payments now to keep your account in advance.
Set up a Direct Debit for regular payments if you don’t already have one in place – we offer any day Direct Debits, and can set these up with you – click here to contact us.
If you already have a Direct Debit in place and would like to increase your payments to build up a credit on your account, get in touch.
If you make a claim
Make sure you confirm when making your claim that you are a tenant of Thrive Homes and that you are responsible for paying rent to Thrive Homes.
Tell us straight away that you are making a claim for Universal Credit and pay your rent in full to us.
Don’t delay – click here to contact us straight away.
What will Thrive do
We will respond quickly to the DWP if we are asked for any information needed to support your claim. This will usually be to confirm how much you pay for rent and service charges.
We will talk through what advice and support we can give if you are making a claim.
Advice on managing money
You are responsible for budgeting to ensure you can pay your rent and service charges and other household commitments. For some households, moving to Universal Credit may be the first time that all income will be received on one monthly payment date.
The government has set up a Money Manager service to give free and impartial advice about managing your money on Universal Credit. This can be accessed at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk .