UC – FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to take you to the answers. If you can’t find the answer below, please refer to the Government website for more information.

About Universal Credit

1. Universal Credit – what is it?

2. When will UC be introduced?

3. How do I apply for UC?

4. Can I get help with the application process?

 

About Payments

5. How and when will I receive payments?

6. Can I get smaller more frequent payments?

 

UC and Rent Payments

7. Can I have my rent paid directly to Ocean from the start?

8. How will annual rent increases be dealt with under UC?

9. Can I get to help managing my finances?

 

Prepare for UC

10. What do I need to do to prepare for UC?

 


About Universal Credit

1. Universal Credit – what is it?

Universal Credit  (UC) is the ‘flagship’ of the Government’s radical reform of the welfare system.  It replaces six of the ‘in and out of work’ benefits* paid to people aged between 18 and Pension Credit age for :

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

The Government’s objective is to promote personal responsibility and to make sure claimants are better off in work than on benefits.

*Council Tax Support is not included. You will need to make a separate claim for Council Tax Support.

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2. When will UC be introduced?
Dec 2017  – Launceston and Liskeard

May 2018  – St Austell, Newquay, Bodmin and Truro

June 2018 – Penzance, Helston, Redruth and Penryn

Initially, it will affect Brand New Claimants and people who currently claim one of the six benefits and have a change in their circumstances.

Those who do not have any changes will eventually be contacted by the DWP and advised of the date that they need to apply by – this may not happen for a while but you still need to be prepared!!

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3. How do I apply for UC?

The initial claim will have to be made online.

Icon online form sml Apply

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4. Can I get help with the application process?

If you need help completing the application process for UC, staff at Jobcentres, local authorities and voluntary sector organisations will be able to help, when the time comes.

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About Payments

5. How and when will I receive payments?

UC will consist of a single, monthly payment which is paid in arrears and directly into your bank account.

Couples living in the same household will receive one monthly payment between them.

Households will then be responsible for managing their own rent payments.

IMPORTANT:

Initial payment delay:
Along with the assessment period of 1 month, you may also need to allow for a further 14 days delay (7 days either side of the assessment period):

  • 1 month assessment period
  • 7 day payment period for administration purposes before you receive your first UC payment.

IMPORTANT: Consider putting money aside and topping up your rent account in advance to tide you over this 5-6 weeks delay until your first UC payment arrives and to cover the shortfall.

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6. Can I get smaller more frequent payments?

In exceptional circumstances, yes, more frequent payments is one of the ‘Alternative Payment Arrangements’ (or APA) that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)  will consider if you are having difficulty budgeting. APAs are temporary solutions for 6 months. You should contact DWP/Jobcentre for personal budgeting support.
 

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UC and Rent Payments

7. Can I have my rent paid directly to Ocean from the start?

Possibly. If you have significant support needs, an ‘Alternative Payment Arrangement’ (APA) may be set up. This could involve either:

  • Rent direct to the landlord OR,
  • More frequent payments OR,
  • Splitting the payment within household

DWP staff will consider information from both tenants and landlords before taking a decision to set up an APA.

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8. How will annual rent increases be dealt with under UC?

It will be the tenants responsibility to tell DWP of any changes that might affect their UC payment, including rent increases/decreases.

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9. Can I get to help managing my finances?

At the application stage, the Jobcentre will identify if you require budgeting support to help you manage your money.

If the Jobcentre genuinely believes you are struggling to manage on a budget and are missing key monthly payments, ‘Alternative Payment Arrangements’ (or APA) may be set up.

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Prepare for UC

10. What do I need to do to prepare for UC?

We can help you get ready for UC. Contact Ocean to get ready for the arrival of UC in your area.

You will need to:

Set up a Hi-£5 rent buffer

Set up a Bank Account

Manage your budget on a monthly income

 

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