Universal Credit (UC) is a new means tested benefit that has been introduced by the government to replace six legacy benefits. These legacy benefits are Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Support, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
In Sefton, from 11th October 2017, anyone who would have made a new claim to one of the old legacy benefits will now have to claim UC instead. There is an exception to this rule and that is if you have three or more children, in this case you would still be able to claim one of the legacy benefits.
All claims to UC must be made online, however, if you have difficulty doing this you can contact the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 to see what help is available - click here for more information.
Before you begin the application it would be helpful if you had the following information close to hand:
- Your bank, building society or credit union account details
- An email address
- Your National Insurance number
- Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
- Details of your income, for example payslips
- Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
- Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs
Once the online application has been made you must contact your local Jobcentre Plus Office within 7 days to make an appointment to see a work coach - failure to do this can result in the claim being cancelled. There are 3 Jobcentres within Sefton:
- Bootle Jobcentre Plus, Park house, 218 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 3PN
- Crosby Jobcentre Plus, Hougoumont House, 29 Hougoumont Avenue,Waterloo,L22 0PB
- Southport Jobcentre Plus, Eastbank House, Eastbank Street, Southport, PR8 1HE
Once your claim is established you should receive a notification detailing your UC entitlement and the date of your first payment, this information will be updated online as no letters are sent with the UC system. Your payments are made every month in arrears and on the same date in each month, unless that date is either the weekend or a bank holiday - in that case the payment is received on the last working day before its normal due date.
Your first payment can take up to 6 weeks to be paid to you. This is because the first 7 days of a UC claim are called waiting days - you have no entitlement to UC for this period.
If you find that you are not able to manage on the money you have whilst awaiting for the initial UC payment you can apply to DWP for an advance payment. This can be done by phoning 0800 328 5644. You may also be able to get help with your rent for this initial period of your UC claim by contacting Sefton MBC, this help is known as a discretionary housing payment.
UC does not cover your council tax payments. However there is help available for people liable to pay council tax - this is known as the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and is operated by Sefton Council.
For more detailed information about Universal Credit please visit carersuk.org.