Universal Credit is on its way
UNIVERSAL Credit is being introduced across Bristol for most working-age households who need to make a new claim for benefit.
After being introduced in South Bristol Jobcentre Plus areas earlier this year, the scheme is being rolled out to the remaining parts of the city in September and October. It replaces the six means-tested benefits and tax credits (including Housing Benefit) and is claimed from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
If you are already getting benefits then you will not be immediately affected unless you have a significant change in your circumstances. If this occurs and you need to make a claim for any of the benefits that Universal Credit replaces, you’ll need to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.
If residents are eligible for Universal Credit, it will be paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account on a monthly basis and normally includes help with your rent. However, it usually takes five to six weeks before the first payment is made, and although residents can get an advance against their first payment, this will be repaid through their next 12 monthly payments.
There are concerns about residents being able to manage during this time. In advance of Universal Credit being rolled out, readers are advised to get advice and support if they need it. If you need help making an online application, getting budgeting support or are worried about paying your rent, Bristol City Council can help, see www.bristol.gov.uk/universalcredit. You can also pop into the Citizen Service Point at 100 Temple Street or speak to your DWP work coach. Your landlord may also be able to help.