North East Lincolnshire Council

What’s different about it?

The arrival of Universal Credit in North East Lincolnshire means big changes to the way some working age people receive benefits. Universal Credit is administered by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment for working age claimants which replaces the following benefits:

  • Working tax credit
  • Child tax credit
  • Housing benefit
  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment support allowance

If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then need to pay your landlord directly unless you request to continue having your housing costs paid directly to landlords once you are on UC

It can take up to six weeks for the first payment to be received, in the longer term customers will receive (on the whole) the same level of financial support they currently receive under a variety of different benefits. It is the payment method that is different and the timing of this payment, UC will become more like a monthly salary payment getting those individuals ready to move into work. The UC claim will start from the date the online claim form was completed.

Get an advance payment of Universal Credit

You can ask for an advance payment of UC to help you get by while you’re waiting for your first payment.

If you don’t get an advance payment you won’t get any money until at least five or six weeks after you apply for UC.

You should ask for an advance payment if you don’t think you’ll have enough money to live on between when you apply and when you’ll get your first payment.

The advance payment is a loan – you’ll have to pay it back, but you won’t need to pay any interest. The repayments will be automatically deducted from your UC payments until the advance is fully paid back. This will take several months, and you’ll get less money until then.

With effect from January 2018 advances of up to 100% of your payment can be requested and paid back over 12 months.

Getting an advanced payment

Waiting days will be removed from UC claims with effect from February 2018 – reducing the wait for the first payment to five weeks

Common myths relating to Universal Credit

Whilst new customers will see a delay of up to six weeks between making the UC claim until the first payment is received, in the longer term customers will receive (on the whole) the same level of financial support they currently receive under a variety of different benefits.  It is the payment method that is different and the timing of this payment, UC will become more like a monthly salary payment getting those individuals ready to move into work.  The UC claim will start from the date the online claim form was completed.

The current expected wait for a UC claim is around six weeks.

As part of the UC claiming process an advance of up to 50% of the UC entitlement will be offered, this will be repayable over six months interest free. However, this may well present financial / hardship issues for some customers.

Managing your money

Apply for an advanced payment of UC

On making a claim for UC a ‘work coach’ will be allocated to the individual who will provide support for the lifetime of the UC claim, this support will centre on;

  • Skills
  • Applying for work
  • Money management

This support will be constant and ongoing.  In addition to this any UC claimant can be referred into the personal budgeting support programme and will gain additional support on;

  • Housing issues
  • Training and job searching
  • Budgeting
  • Healthy eating and wellbeing

Where can I go for help?

Any claimant who receives the housing costs element of UC can apply for a Direct Housing Payment.  These applications will be dealt with under the current scheme and agreed success criteria.  A refresh of the scheme is underway to enable us to use the available resources to best support local residents.

Universal Credit helps to make work pay by topping up your earnings.

Universal Credit: how it helps you into work

Read James’s story about better off working.