Universal Credit

What Is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is not paid by Merthyr Tydfil Council Borough Council. If you have any questions about the amount of Universal Credit you receive or how it is paid, please contact the Universal Credit helpline 0345 600 0723.

Universal Credit is delivered through the Merthyr Jobcentre from 21st September 2015. Initially only certain claimants will be able to apply for Universal Credit.

To claim Universal Credit, you must:

  • Be single or a couple from 21st September 2015, with no dependent children, British citizen and aged between 18 years and 60 years and six months
  • Be fit for work
  • Not be pregnant, nor have given birth within the last 15 weeks
  • Not be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Allowance
  • Not have savings in excess of £6,000
  • Not have any caring responsibilities
  • Not be self-employed, in education, nor have a person acting on your behalf over your claim
  • Have a valid bank account and National Insurance number

If you are not eligible for Universal Credit, you can:

  • Claim Jobseekers Allowance if you are looking for work
  • Claim Employment and Support Allowance if you are ill or disabled.
  • Use www.gov.uk to check what other help you might be eligible to claim

If you meet all the above criteria you must make a claim for Universal Credit

Most claims for Universal Credit will be made online.

It will take between 20 and 40 minutes to make the claim online. Make sure you have enough time to complete the application. You cannot save the online application and go back to it later.
If you're making your application online and need help and support contact the Universal Credit helpline whilst you are online and they will assist you with making your claim.

Universal Credit will start from the date you make your claim. It will only be backdated in exceptional circumstances.

Do not delay making your claim - you will lose money.

When you have completed your online application, you will see an on-screen message that will give you an estimate of the amount of Universal Credit you will receive and when it is likely to be paid. This will normally be five weeks after you submit your claim.

Universal Credit will the normally be paid every month.

Council Tax Reduction

When you submit your claim for Universal Credit you will be asked if you pay Council Tax and if so, do you wish to claim Council Tax Reduction. If you indicate yes then you will be advised to contact the Benefits Section at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to request a claim form.

You can also email benefits@merthyr.gov.uk to request a form, ring us on 01685 725116/725371 or visit the One Stop Shop at the Civic Centre and complete a claim with a member of the customer services team.

If you are currently receiving help with paying your Council Tax you will need to advise the Benefits Section that you have claimed Universal Credit.

If you submit a claim for Council Tax Reduction or are already receiving Council Tax Reduction then you will need to provide proof of your Universal Credit award when you receive it.

If you are receiving Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction then you need to report any change of circumstances to the Service Centre that dealt with your Universal Credit claim as well as ensuring that you notify the Benefits Section who deal with your Council Tax Reduction claim.

Housing Benefit

You will no longer need to claim Housing Benefit for help towards your rent as your Universal Credit payment will include an amount for your rent and you will be responsible for paying rent to your landlord.

Flexible Early Payments

If you need to pay an urgent bill before your Universal Credit payment is due, you can ask for a Universal Credit advance. This will only be made if you meet certain conditions. If you receive an advance payment, future payments will be reduced to repay this advance.

To request a Universal Credit Advance you will need to contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0345 600 0723.

Alternative Payment Arrangements

Some claimants may need extra help with moving towards a single monthly payment. If you're facing difficult circumstances, you may be able to have Universal Credit paid differently. This is called an alternative payment arrangement. Examples of alternative arrangements are:

  • Having the housing costs element paid direct to your landlord
  • Being paid twice monthly instead of monthly

Over time you will need to improve how you manage your money, so you can move off alternative payment arrangements and on to the normal Universal Credit payment.

To request an alternative payment arrangement you will need to contact the Universal Credit helpline 0345 600 0723.

Please note; if you are no longer claiming Housing Benefit because you now claim Universal Credit, you can still apply for Discretionary Housing Payment. These applications are made directly to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. You can email benefits@merthyr.gov.uk to request a form, ring us on 01685 725116/725371 or visit the One Stop Shop at the Civic Centre. 

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