What is universal credit?
Universal credit is a new benefit for people of working age, designed to top up your income to a minimum level. Universal credit will replace benefits for people who are out of work and tax credits for people in work.
Providing your income and savings don't go above certain limits, you can carry on claiming universal credit if you are working or out of work. Universal credit may help people on low incomes who move in and out of work by reducing the problems caused by benefits stopping and starting.
Universal credit will replace these benefits:
income support (IS)
jobseekers allowance (JSA)
employment and support allowance (ESA)
child tax credit and working tax credit
budgeting loans and crisis loans.
Many other benefits will continue to exist. Some will count as income when universal credit is calculated, and others will not.
Timetable for the introduction of universal credit
Universal credit will be introduced gradually across the country and in stages. The first areas - in April 2013 - will be Tameside, Oldham and Wigan in Greater Manchester, and Warrington in Cheshire.
From October 2013, universal credit will start to be introduced nationally. New benefit claims will be for universal credit instead of income support, jobseeker's allowance, employment and support allowance or housing benefit. If you come off benefits because you are starting work, you will claim universal credit instead of tax credits.
From April 2014, people of working age who are in work will claim universal credit instead of tax credits.
From April 2014 to October 2017, people already claiming certain other benefits will gradually be transferred to universal credit.
Claiming universal credit
You will usually have to be aged 18 or over to make a claim for universal credit. Young people under 18, students and people from abroad or not usually resident in the UK will not usually be able to claim, but there willl be some exceptions.
You won't be able to claim universal credit if both you and your partner are over pension credit age, you'll have to claim pension credit instead. You will be able to claim as an individual or jointly as a couple.
Most claims for universal credit will be made online, and it is expected that people will tell the DWP about changes in circumstances online too.
You will not be entitled to universal credit if your income from other sources or savings are too high for you to qualify.
Housing benefit when universal credit is introduced
Housing costs will be claimed as part of universal credit, so a separate claim for housing benefit won't be needed. Universal credit will contain similar allowances towards rent, which will usually be paid directly to you as part of your universal credit payment.
It will be your responsibility to budget and pay your rent from your universal credit and any other income you may have. Payments will usually be made monthly.
There may be some circumstances when rent payments can be made direct to your landlord instead.
Help with mortgages when universal credit is introduced
Universal credit will contain a payment to help with mortgage interest, but this will only be available for universal credit claimants who are not doing paid work. You may have to wait for some time before entitlement begins, and it may only be for a limited amount of time.
Universal credit claimants who have mortgages may have to reconsider their housing options if their benefits are too low to allow them to keep up with their payments. Mortgage arrears and repossession will be a risk.
Universal credit will be paid monthly
Benefits payments are currently paid every fortnight or sometimes every week. Under universal credit, payments will usually be made every month - and they will be made in arrears, not in advance. It may sometimes be possible for payments to be made more frequently, or to be split.
Don't be surprised if it takes you some time to get used to budgeting for a month at a time if you have been used to managing your money from week to week.
Limits to the total benefits claimed - the benefits cap
Universal credit will have a benefits cap - benefit will usually only be paid up to a maximum of £500 per week for couples with children or lone parents, and £350 per week for a single person.
Information Supplied by Shelter Uk (No infringement intended)
PIP (Personal Independence Payment)
From April 2013 a new benefit, Personal Independence Payment, will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people aged 16 to 64. Personal Independence Payment is a non-means tested, tax-free payment that you can spend as you choose. Find out more, including what happens if you're currently getting Disability Living Allowance.
Personal Independence Payment - what it is
Personal Independence Payment is for disabled people aged 16 to 64 (known as working age) when they first claim.
Your entitlement to Personal Independence Payment isn’t based on your disability, but the help you may need because of your condition or disability. Your personal circumstances are taken into account and the impact that your condition or disability has on your ability to live independently.
The payment isn't means-tested, so your income and savings won't affect your entitlement to Personal Independence Payment. You can claim it whether you're in or out of work.
The payment is tax-free and you can spend the money as you choose.
If you're currently getting Disability Living Allowance
Aged under 16
There's no change for Disability Living Allowance for children up to 16 years of age - this will continue.
Aged 16 to 64
From 2013 to 2016, Personal Independence Payment will replace Disability Living Allowance for everyone of working age even if you've an indefinite or lifetime award. Working age means anyone aged 16 to 64 on the day that Personal Independence Payment is introduced. You'll need to make a claim for Personal Independence Payment instead. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will write to you between 2013 and 2016 to let you know when you can claim Personal Independence Payment.
You don't need to do anything now, DWP will contact you to let you know when your Disability Living Allowance will stop. They will tell you when and how you should make a claim for Personal Independence Payment.
There's no automatic entitlement to Personal Independence Payment. Entitlement is based on your personal circumstances and the impact that your condition or disability has on your ability to live independently. Entitlement will not depend on what health condition or disability you have.
The only exception is for people who are terminally ill and who are not expected to live for more than six months.
Aged 65 or over
If you're aged 65 or over on the day Personal Independence Payment is introduced, you'll keep getting your Disability Living Allowance. You will need to continue to meet the entitlement conditions. You'll not need to claim Personal Independence Payment.
Why is Personal Independence Payment replacing Disability Living Allowance?
Replacing Disability Living Allowance with Personal Independence Payment will mean everyone will get the right support to live independent lives. Personal Independence Payment will consider the impact of disability in a better way than Disability Living Allowance does, considering all conditions fairly.
This means that people with mental health, intellectual, cognitive and developmental impairments will be better assessed - along with people with physical disabilities. The impact of their conditions will also be taken into account in a fairer way.
The new benefit also allows disabled people to be reassessed over time to ensure everyone gets the right support if their needs change.
To Claim PIP please call
New claims in Great Britain only
Telephone: 0800 917 2222
Textphone: 0800 917 7777
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
DLA (Disability Living Allowance)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for disabled children and adults to help with extra costs you may have because you're disabled. Find out more about Disability Living Allowance, including how much you can get.
People over the Age of 16 cannot claim DLA as this Benefit has been replaced by Personal Independence Payment.
If you are still claiming Disability Living Allowance you should have received a letter from the DWP explaining the changes which will effect you in the coming months/years
Information Supplied from DirectGOV Website:
All information is supplied in good faith Basildon Disability Forum Accept no Liability for the Information Provided.