Council continues to support residents in preparation for changes to benefits and tax credits.
The Department for Work and Pensions will be rolling out Universal Credit for most working age Medway residents from Wednesday, 30 May 2018.
Universal Credit has been in place in Medway since October 2015 for some residents who live on their own and are on a low income or out of work. Each month they receive a single payment instead of receiving their benefits or tax credits as separate payments.
If residents of working age receive the following benefits: housing benefit, income support, income based jobseekers allowance, income based employment and support allowance, working tax credit and child tax credit, they will remain on their current benefits until they are transferred to Universal Credit.
Residents could be moved to Universal Credit if there is a change of circumstance to one of the benefits they already receive, or if they need to make a new claim.
Council tenants, who are anticipated to be affected by Universal Credit, have already received a letter explaining the changes.
It will take a number of years to transfer every resident who currently receives benefits or tax credits onto the Universal Credit scheme. Medway Council is continuing to encourage residents who receive benefits to report any changes in their circumstances.
If residents claim Universal Credit it will be paid directly to them in the single monthly payment for their household. Residents will be responsible for paying any housing costs (rent) to their landlords directly.
Universal Credit will generally be managed online. Residents can make claims online and check their payments and updates on their online account. If they don’t have internet access at home, residents can visit one of Medway Council’s 15 community hubs or libraries. They also have free WiFi if they would like to use their own devices.
Medway Council will continue to hold weekly drop-in surgeries and roadshows across Medway for council tenants to find out more about Universal Credit.
‘There is lots of support and advice available’
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “There is lots of support and advice available for residents who will be affected by Universal Credit. We will continue to hold roadshows and weekly drop-in sessions for Medway Council tenants and I would encourage them to go along to find out more about how the changes may affect them. Residents can also visit our community hubs and libraries if they don’t have internet access at home and need to submit a Universal Credit application. ”