Support is available for Charnwood residents who may be affected by the wider rollout of Universal Credit.
The Department of Work and Pensions is expanding Universal Credit and from July 11, 2018 it will affect more people of working age in the borough.
Universal Credit is a major change for residents who receive at least one of the six benefits it is replacing and Charnwood Borough Council has taken steps to put support and advice in place for customers.
All Council customer service staff have received training about Universal Credit and a specialist officer will offer people digital support to help them make and maintain their claim as the benefit is handled entirely online.
Citizens Advice is also able to offer one-to-one advice on personal budgeting, on referral from the Council.
Council tenants can also get help and support from the Council’s tenancy and income management team.
Cllr Roy Rollings, deputy lead member with responsibility for customer services, said: “Universal Credit represents a significant change in the way people receive benefits and we know many of our customers will be affected.
“We have spent the past 12 months getting ready for these changes and I am confident we are well-prepared to help residents.”
Universal Credit is a new benefit for working age people who are on a low income or out of work. It replaces a number of existing benefits and tax credits:
- housing benefit
- income-based jobseeker's allowance
- income-based employment and support allowance
- income support
- working tax credit
- child tax credit
Some people in the borough have been receiving Universal Credit for a while, but from July 11 it will affect more residents.
From that date, most people of working age in Charnwood who apply for any of the above benefits will automatically be asked to apply for Universal Credit.
Importantly, people who already receive one of the above benefits could be moved over to Universal Credit by the DWP from now on.
At first, the switch is likely to be made when people report a change in their circumstances but at some point in the next two or three years, it is anticipated that the DWP will move everyone of working age who receives one of the above benefits across to Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is for people of a working age, not people over the pension credit age.
It also does not cover council tax support which is still administered by the Council.