Universal Credit – What You Need To Know
Universal credit has been designed as a means of streamlining several different benefits (such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefits and working tax credits) with the idea being that this will make the process more efficient. However, there has been some criticism with how the process has been implemented and the benefit has proven controversial in a number of areas. Therefore, it helps to know what Universal Credit is and how it could apply to you.
What to be aware of
For people already claiming certain benefits, the Department of Work and Pensions should talk to you before any changes happen. Where this becomes complicated is if your circumstances change, for example, if you get a new job while on income related Jobseeker’s Allowance. It should be stated you can still claim money on Universal Credit if you get a job, up until the point that you are earning enough to stop the claim.
The amount people will receive depends on different circumstances- this can include being a parent or carer or having a disability that will affect your ability to work, and you may be able to get money toward your housing costs. There are calculators available through the government website that will help you gauge how much you could potentially receive.
How to prepare
At the end of 2018 Universal Credit is set to be applied across the country. While you may not have it now, there are ways to prepare before the switchover takes place. One recommendation is to switch to an online account (this is especially encouraged for jobseekers, as this makes it to easier to update any information regarding employment).
Another area to consider is a bank account, building society or credit union account so that the money can be transferred in. Finally, if your previous payments were weekly rather than monthly you may need to seek advice regarding how to budget monthly, this is especially important when it comes to paying rent in order to avoid arrears and debt.
After the application
Once you’ve made your application, you need to arrange a meeting at the jobcentre. This will give you the chance to discuss any issues you may have. The first payment will arrive five weeks after you have applied, although advanced funds are possible if you can’t manage during this time (again, this is something you can discuss during your first appointment).
We can help
There are a number of issues that can come from this, such as the right account for your money, how the change in benefits may affect how much you earn, what you are eligible for and so forth. At Larcomes Financial Services we have the resources and the customer service experience to explain this in more detail. If you would like to talk to a professional who can help guide you through the process, please contact us today so we can discuss your circumstances in more detail.