From December 2017, Universal Credit will be phased in, affecting residents in Cornwall.
….It is not a choice.
….You will have to switch.
But don’t worry help is at hand!
What is Universal Credit?
It’s the new way that welfare benefits are going to be paid.
All benefits will be rolled into one and paid to you once a month.
There can be a delay of up to 6 weeks whilst the changeover of Universal Credit takes place, during which you may get no money.
We have therefore put together this simple flowchart to help you understand.
Take it step by step:
Step 1 – Are you of Working Age?
Yes – go to 2 No – Universal Credit should not affect you
Step 2 – Do you receive one or more of the following six benefits?
Working Tax Credits
Child Tax Credits
ESA (income related)
JSA (income related)
Yes – go to 3 No – Universal Credit should not affect you
Step 3 – Are you able to access the Internet?
Yes – go to 4 No – Ocean can help by offering advice. Continue to 4 and contact Ocean at the end.
Step 4 – Can you cope with 1 large monthly payment coming in?
Yes – go to 5 No – Ocean can help by offering advice. Continue to 5 and contact Ocean at the end.
Step 5 – Do you have a bank account?
Yes – Great you are almost ready! Go to 6! No – You will need a bank account so that your Universal Credit can be paid. Continue to 6 and remember to set up a bank account when you have finished reading this.
Step 6 – Don’t delay, prepare today!
Make extra payments to your rent (eg. set up a Hi-£5 buffer account)
Top up your prepayment card for gas/electric or switch to direct debit to spread the costs
Seek help budgeting – Contact Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) or Ocean’s Customer Accounts Team
We understand how tough it can be when you have money worries, especially if you are struggling to find a job. That’s why Susan, who was previously part of our Welfare Advice Team, is now working on a new SMART Tenant Project:
“I am really excited about helping tenants in different ways – from sorting out money problems to finding employment.”
Sometimes it may be as simple as re-writing a CV, helping with a job application and practicing interview techniques.
“We may also be able to arrange for training that could help residents back into work and support with childcare during the training.”
The SMART project is for new tenants who are unemployed and have the right to live and work in the U.K.
If you are not a new tenant and you think you could benefit from this kind of support, Susan is still very keen to hear from you:
“Please contact me so we can talk about other ways of helping you.”
Susan is working on this project with an organisation called the Penwith Community Development Trust and it is funded by the European Social Fund.
Today, we’ve been celebrating #HousingDay on social media to try and raise awareness of the positive impact the Housing Sector has on people’s lives.
One of our Customer Accounts Advisors has put into words how she feels about her work:
“People often think of social housing as cheap housing for people who can’t afford the private sector.
What is missing from that is the tremendous amount of support that we offer to people to make their tenancy a success.
One of the aspects I find most satisfying is helping people through their first tenancy or with a fresh start. They may be walking away from abuse or just starting up and it can be terrifying. You don’t get that support in the private sector and seeing tenants grow and become happy in their new home is fantastic.
I am very lucky to meet people before they become Ocean tenants and work with them throughout the first few months of their tenancy helping with things like Housing Benefit, Universal Credit, benefits generally and budgeting.
Giving people the tools to turn their lives around and become independent is immensely satisfying and its lovely to speak to people a few weeks into their tenancy and hear that just having a new home has made all the difference.”
The kids are back at school and Christmas will soon be upon us so now is an excellent time to review your finances and look at how to budget ahead more effectively.
One important part of budgeting is to ensure that your priority debts are paid on time.
Maintaining your rent payments is an essential part of managing your finances and helping you budget. Once these payments are made then it is easier to understand what money you have left over each month for your other outgoings.
To make things a little easier for you, we’ve put together a helpful guide listing ‘Ways to Pay’ – this will help you identify the best way for you to take control of your finances and make budgeting a little easier.
Our friendly and helpful Welfare Advice Team have been helping tenants get to grips with these upcoming changes to the benefits system and what they need to do to be prepared for Universal Credit and the lowered Benefits Cap.
It’s really important that you tell Ocean when you have or are going to sign up to Universal Credit.
There will be even greater challenges ahead for the team with the arrival of Universal Credit. This new Benefits System will affect far more people than with the introduction of Welfare Reform.
At the moment, very few people are aware of Universal Credit and how it will affect them. The team has their work cut out, explaining the changes, what needs to be done before claiming, how to claim and subsequently how to cope with the new single monthly payments.
At the end of this month, the Welfare Advice team will be joining forces with other Ocean staff to visit in person around 400 households expected to be most affected by Universal Credit.
If you would like to speak the Welfare Advice team or know someone affected by Welfare Reform or Universal Credit, please contact them: