The way Medway residents receive their benefits and tax credits has changed.
If you're eligible for Universal Credit you will get a single payment each month instead of receiving your benefits or tax credits as separate payments.
Universal Credit replaces the following working-age benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Jobseekers Allowance (Income Based)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income Based)
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
If you currently get any of these benefits, you will be transferred as part of a managed process by 2023. You may be transferred sooner if there is a change to one of your benefits or if you need to make a new claim. You'll receive a letter if you are affected by the change to Universal Credit.
It will take a number of years to transfer every resident who currently receives benefits or tax credits onto the Universal Credit scheme. In the meantime, we encourage residents who receive benefits to report any changes in their circumstances.
How to apply
When you apply you'll need:
- a registered ID, for example a passport or driving licence
- a registered UK bank account
- a computer with internet access
For Medway Council housing tenants, we are holding weekly drop-in surgeries at Twydall Community Hub Library. Medway Council tenants can phone 0800 408 8080 for free advice from our dedicated welfare reform team. You can also contact Citizens Advice for support on benefits.
Help paying your rent
If your rent is currently paid directly to your landlord, in the future it will be paid directly to you. This is known as Housing Costs and you will be responsible for paying your rent to your landlord.
Help with your Council Tax
Claims for Council Tax Reduction will remain with Medway Council. If you claim Universal Credit with the Department for Work and Pensions and you already receive Council Tax Reduction, you do not need to reapply. If you are a new claimant for Council Tax Reduction, you will need to apply through the council.
For help and to apply for Council Tax Reduction visit our Council Tax Reduction page.
5 steps to help you prepare
- Do not delay if you need to make a claim
- Open a bank account in your name if you do not have one
- Keep money aside for a rainy day. The first Universal Credit payment can take a minimum of 5 weeks
- Become digitally confident as claims are managed online
- Make sure you have approved identification documents.
Need internet access?
You need to apply for Universal Credit online. If you do not have access to a computer with internet access, you can use the internet at any of our community hubs and libraries.
How Universal Credit is paid
The single monthly payment will be paid into your bank, building society or Credit Union account.
If you live with your partner and you both claim Universal Credit you’ll receive a single payment that covers you both.
This means you'll need to manage your bills and costs for the whole month. For help with setting a budget and managing your money, see the Money Advice Service guide.
Prepare for the change
To help you prepare for the change the Money Advice Service has put together useful information including advice on choosing a bank account and help with budgeting. View the advice from the Money Advice Service
If you are a leaseholder or council tenant in Medway and need any advice around Universal Credit, you can speak to your assigned housing officer.