Universal Credit steps you need to take to ensure you keep getting paid

If you're already receiving Universal Credit or are thinking about applying for it, then there's a few things you should know about how it works.

The welfare scheme was designed to replace six existing benefits: Child tax credit, housing benefit, income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), and working tax credit.

You may be entitled to Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or out of work, you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17), you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is), you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you, and if you live in the UK.

The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.

Before receiving the benefit, people must sign a Claimant Commitment that sets out what they are expected to do, and the rules they must follow.

Recipients set up an online account on the Government website that keeps track of their Universal Credit claim, how much they will receive and other information.

  • How to save £800 in just 15 minutes with genius money saving hack

Once you're signed up, you use your online Universal Credit account to:

  • Keep a record of the things you've done to prepare or look for work
  • Send messages to your work coach and read messages they send you
  • Report a change of circumstances
  • Record childcare costs
  • Provide details about a health condition or disability
  • See how much your Universal Credit payments are
  • Check what you have agreed to do in your Claimant Commitment

What you need to do depends on your situation. You might need to complete activities such as: write a CV, look and apply for jobs, and maybe even go on training courses.

You’ll also need to do things such as pay your own rent and other housing costs and report any changes in your circumstances.

If you fail to do any of the things in your Claimant Commitment without good reason, your payments may be reduced for a period of time.

This is known as a sanction.

If you’re claiming with your partner, you’ll each have a Claimant Commitment and set of responsibilities.

Things you need to do whilst on Universal Credit are set out in a 'To Do' list on your online account.

When you complete one of these tasks it will move from your 'To Do' list to your journal.

Your journal is your record of everything you’ve done whilst claiming Universal Credit.

If you are required to look for work, you will be told to set up an account on a website called Find a job.

  • State pension could increase by up to £230 a year with 2.5% boost set to come

You can use this site to look for work and keep a record of some of the things you've done to find a job.

You can also use the journal to send messages to your work coach, and they can use it to reply or send their own messages to you.

These online conversations will be stored in the journal so that you and your work coach can look back to see what you have agreed.

If you do not have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you can ask for an advance payment after you’ve made a claim.

You can also ask for a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because you got a sanction.

You need to pay it back through your Universal Credit payments – they’ll be lower until you pay it back.

For more information about Universal Credit, visit gov.uk/universal-credit.

Source: Read Full Article