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Universal Credit

Did you know Universal Credit has arrived in Carmarthenshire? Whether you are in or out of work it could affect you! We've provided some basic information and easy to use tools to help you find out more about Universal Credit, what it could mean for you and how you can prepare for the change.

Universal credit is a new welfare benefit which will replace;

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

When Universal Credit comes to Carmarthenshire instead of claiming each of the above benefits individually you will make one claim for Universal Credit instead.

Universal Credit will include financial support for things like illness or disability, housing, children, unemployment or low income employment.

Universal Credit claims are automatically updated by HMRC if you move in or out of work so you won’t need to make a new claim if you are made unemployed, increase your hours or change jobs.

Universal Credit does not include the following welfare benefits and you will continue to have to claim these separately;

  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) / Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
  • Child Benefit
  • Pensions

If you want to get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you could be entitled to and how much it will change when you are in and out of work use the Universal Credit online calculator on the Policy in Practice website.

Yes. If you currently claim any of the benefits listed in the section above Universal Credit changes will more than likely affect you at some stage. 

The Department for Work and Pensions have prepared a 'Universal Credit & You' guide that and covers the following areas: 

  • Universal Credit Full and Live Service 
  • Your Responsibilities 
  • Your Commitment 
  • Payments 
  • Sanctions 
  • Full time work search 
  • Conditionality, Opening up work and Taper 
  • Self-employment 
  • Help with eligible childcare costs 
  • Housing 

Download the Universal Credit & You guide (.pdf)

  1. Instead of claiming any of the benefits listed in section one individually you will need to make one claim for Universal Credit instead.
  2. You will need to make your Universal Credit claim online.
  3. If you live with a partner and either or both of you or both of you are currently claiming any of the benefits listed in section one you will have to make one claim to Universal Credit together as a household. 

When you’re claim is awarded you will receive:

  • One benefit payment – instead of your current separate payments
  • Your payment once a month – instead of weekly or fortnightly
  • Your payment into a bank or credit union account – instead of into a post office account which you cannot get Universal Credit paid into

REMEMBER: If you used to claim housing benefit you will now receive your entitlement as part of your Universal Credit monthly benefit payment.

Once you receive your benefit payment you will need to:

  • manage / budget your benefit for a whole month (4 weeks) until your next benefit payment
  • pay all of your rent to your landlord yourself each month

In certain circumstances you may be able to set up an alternative payment arrangement for Universal Credit. This can mean having your Universal Credit paid more often than monthly, having it split between you and your partner, or having your rent taken out of your universal credit payment and paid to your landlord before you receive your benefit.

Only some people can have alternative payments visit the Citizen's Advice Bureau website for more information.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and will affect different people at different times.

For new, single jobseeking claimants living in Carmarthenshire Universal Credit is now available.

For all other customers Universal Credit could affect you from as early as May 2016 although the exact time you are affected will depend on your circumstances.

If you are already claiming any of the benefits affected by Universal Credit you will be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions in plenty of time to tell you when you will be affected.

Visit .gov.uk for more information on when Universal Credit will affect you.

If you currently have housing benefit paid straight to your landlord:

You will need to find out how to pay your rent when you receive your first Universal Credit claim. You will need to know things like:

  • who your landlord is,
  • how to pay them,
  • what amount of rent you need to pay and,
  • what date you need to pay them on each month.

Speak to your landlord / housing association to find our more about what you need to do or if you are unsure contact the housing benefit team for information. 

You will need to make and manage your Universal Credit claim online so you will need to find out where you can access the internet and how to use it. If you don’t use or have access to the internet or a computer…

Get a bank or Credit Union account
You cannot get Universal Credit paid into a post office account so you will need to set up a bank or credit union account. There are lots of options available to you, even if you have a poor credit history. To find out more about opening the right account for you call or visit your nearest bank, building society or credit union.

Practice and prepare
Making your money last a whole month can be difficult, especially if you are not used to it. Under Universal Credit you will need to make your money last a whole four weeks until you receive your next benefit payment. You will also need to make sure that you don’t miss making any important payments such as rent or bills in this period.

If you are worried about making this change you can:

  • use one of our tools to understand more about what you have coming in and going out and how to balance your money
  • speak to a specialist money advisor for free on 0300 500 5000

Pop into Yr Hwb in Llanelli Town centre or call 08000 9173 408 to find out more about advice and support available in Carmarthenshire.

Getting Online
Visit your local library or Yr Hwb in Llanelli to access the internet for free or if you are looking for work visit your local Jobcentre where you can also access free internet.

Bank / Credit Union Account
Visit any of Carmarthenshire’s banks or building societies to find out about setting up the right account for you or contact West Wales Credit Union on 01239 621408 to find out more about how your local credit union can help you manage under Universal Credit.

Existing Debt
Call Step Change debt charity free on 0800 138 1111 or make an appointment with your local Citizens Advice Bureau on 01267 231275

Rent / Housing
Speak to your landlord / housing association about any support they provide or you can contact our Housing Team on 01554 899259 . If you have existing housing debts or rent arrears make an appointment with Shelter Cymru on 01267 229206.

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