Universal Credit is now being rolled out across the UK.
What is Universal Credit?
The UK government is introducing Universal Credit for people who are out of work or on a low income. It will eventually replace six of the the benefits and tax credits you may be getting at the moment, including; Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-related Employment & Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.
When does it start?
Live service Universal Credit was introduced in West Lothian on 16th November 2015. Claims were only open to people who met a strict set of 'gateway' criteria which ensured only straightforward claims were accepted. The live service gateway closed on 31st December 2017. This means that no new claims for Universal Credit are currently being taken in West Lothian. If you are already on Universal Credit your claim will not be closed, you will keep getting Universal Credit as normal.
Full service Universal Credit is expected to be introduced in West Lothian in May 2018. This version of Universal Credit will be different to the live service we see currently. New claims will be open to most claim types including people with a partner or children or people not able to work due to ill health or caring responsibilities. Full service Universal Credit will be more digital with claims being made and managed online using a personalised journal.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
No new claims are currently being taken for Universal Credit in West Lothian
How will I receive Universal Credit?
Universal Credit will be paid monthly into your bank account. This means you'll have to start managing your money across the whole month.
Do I have the right bank account?
Your bank, building society, or credit union account must be able to receive automated payments. You will find it useful to set up Direct Debits and standing orders for bills like your rent and utilities.
What if I pay rent?
If you pay rent - this will be included in your monthly Universal Credit payment. It will be your responsibility to pay the full amount to your landlord directly.
What else can I do to prepare for Universal Credit?
Draw up a budget to help plan your finances and a list of all your income and outgoings. Universal Credit will be paid monthly in arrears so you need to plan for this. We recommend setting up Direct Debits for regular bills, like your rent.
Where can I get more support and advice?
Your local Jobcentre and The Advice Shop in Bathgate can provide more support and advice.
For more information visit the DWP website.