From Monday 16 November some single people making a new claim for benefits in Milton Keynes will be able to apply for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is being phased in over the next few years to replace the following benefits for anyone of working age.

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Currently only single jobseekers making a new claim will be affected by the changes. Anyone making a new claim for one of the five other benefits, (soon to be replaced by Universal Credit) will not be affected by these changes for some time.

The following are the main features in Universal Credit

  • It will only be paid once a month into a bank, building society or credit union account.
  • People who rent their home and are claiming Universal Credit will receive help with their rent in their Universal Credit payment because of this they will need to pay their landlord themselves.
  • Claimants who live with their partner, if they are both eligible, will get one monthly joint payment.
  • It can take several weeks after a claim is made to get the first payment.
  • It must be claimed online, or in certain limited circumstances by phone

The Department for Work and Pensions estimate that there will be approximately 1,410 claims for Universal Credit between 16 November 2015 and 31 March 2016 in the Milton Keynes area.

Details on how to claim Universal Credit can be found at www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim.

Claimants should be aware that when they make a new claim for Universal Credit they will not be paid for the first seven days. These days are known as waiting days. However, they should not let this delay their claim and they should apply as soon as they are eligible to do so.

Cllr Rob Middleton, cabinet lead for Revenues and Benefits said: “Although Milton Keynes Council is well prepared to meet the challenges of Universal Credit everyone needs to understand that this is the most radical change in Social Security in modern times. We will help our residents in making this transition, by providing support and drawing on the help of our charitable and third sector partners”

More information on Universal Credit and how people can manage their money can be found at www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/universalcredit

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