Universal Credit - News item November '17

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Universal Credit is being rolled-out across Angus from today (Wed 8 November 2017).

In what is part of the biggest changes to the benefits system for more than 30 years, all three Angus Jobcentre Plus offices (in Arbroath, Forfar and Montrose) will now operate the new Full Service system.

Universal Credit is the new benefit being rolled-out across the country by the Department for Work and Pensions for working age people who are in or out of work. It changes the means-tested benefits people receive and the way in which they make and manage a claim.

A single monthly payment will replace the following benefits and tax credits - Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance (income-based), Employment & Support Allowance (income-related), Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit. However, it is possible for new Universal Credit applicants to receive their payments twice a month as a part of what is referred to as Scottish Choices. More information can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Changes are significant – notably – You will have any payment for your Housing Costs (formerly Housing Benefit) paid directly to you as part of your Universal Credit award. This means that you will be responsible for paying your landlord your full rent. As part of Scottish Choices, arrangements can be made to have your housing costs paid directly to your landlord. Please take time to look at the information and advice we have on the dedicated Universal Credit pages of our website. There’s also a short film that explains just what Universal Credit is.

Be aware that Universal Credit does not include any help for Council Tax reduction. You must apply for this separately and can do this online.

Depending on your personal circumstances, you might also be entitled to other support if you are in receipt of Universal Credit. It’s important that if you are not already aware of how Universal Credit affects you that you take the time to find out.

You can get more advice locally from Angus CAB and our own welfare rights service. They can provide benefit and debt advice and assistance and continue to work closely with the Department for Work and Pensions to raise public awareness of Universal Credit. Assisted digital support is also available to help you get online and there are digital skills courses across Angus.

Current and new benefit claimants who have three or more children will not be affected by Universal Credit until late 2018. Angus residents with a PH11 8, or a PH12 8 postcode (which falls under the Perth & Kinross Jobcentre area) will not see the full service roll-out of Universal Credit until April 2018. These residents are aligned to the Blairgowrie Jobcentre.