Impact of introduction of Universal Credit on Housing Benefit claims
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deals with Universal Credit (UC), which is means-tested benefit for working age people.
Working age couples
A couple are classed as "working age" if the younger partner makes a claim and he or she:
- is not a pensioner
- does not get Pension Credit as part of the couple
Universal Credit replaces:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Working Tax Credit
There are some important differences between these benefits and Universal Credit. You can find out more about Universal Credit.
If you need help with making a claim for Universal Credit, you can contact the Chelmsford Citizens Advice Bureau. They can also provide money advice and help with debt.
How it affects new claims
The DWP has rolled out Universal Credit in Chelmsford.
You will not be able to make a new claim to us for Housing Benefit. Instead, if you need help with your rent, you will need to apply for Universal Credit and claim the housing element.
How it affects existing claims
If you are already claiming Housing Benefit, this change will not affect you for now.
You can also choose to move on to Universal Credit if you wish. However, if you do so, you will not be able to transfer back.
You will still be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit from us if you are:
- a supported housing tenant (where care or support is included in your rent)
- living in temporary accommodation we have provided because you are homeless
In these cases, you will also need to claim Universal Credit from DWP for your living costs.
Additionally, you will not be moved on to Universal Credit if:
- you are a pensioner
In these cases, you will still be able to claim for the original six benefits.
If you do claim Universal Credit, we will award you Housing Benefit for the first two weeks of your Universal Credit claim.
If you need help with paying your Council Tax, you will need to claim Council Tax Reduction from us.
The introduction of Universal Credit does not affect Council Tax Reduction. We will continue to deal with these claims as normal.
You can claim Discretionary Housing Payment from us if the benefits you receive are less than the rent you have to pay.
This applies if your rent is higher than:
- the housing element of Universal Credit claim
- your Housing Benefit payment