Medway residents will soon see a change in the way they receive their benefits and tax credits. The Department for Work and Pensions will be rolling out Universal Credit to more Medway residents from 30 May 2018.

Prior to 30 May 2018, anyone not already receiving Universal Credit who needs help with their rent, can apply for Housing Benefit by completing the online form.

Find out if you're eligible for Universal Credit on GOV.UK

When Universal Credit is rolled out, eligible residents will receive a single payment each month instead of receiving their 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 receive any of these benefits, you will be transferred as part of a managed process by 2022. 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:

  • Registered ID, for example a passport or driving licence
  • A registered UK bank account
  • A computer with internet access 

You can apply for Universal Credit on GOV.UK

Watch this short video to see how to make a claim.

For more information on making a claim visit understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk

Support

For Medway Council housing tenants, we are holding weekly drop-in surgeries at Twydall Community Hub Library. We are also holding roadshow events on May 16 and 17. 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.

Find out more about housing benefit

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

  1. Don’t delay if you need to make a claim
  2. Open a bank account in your name if you don’t have one
  3. Keep money aside for a rainy day. The first Universal Credit payment can take a minimum of five weeks
  4. Become digitally confident as claims are managed online
  5. Make sure you have approved identification documents

Need internet access?

You need to apply for Universal Credit online. If you don't have access to a computer with internet access, then don't worry. Our community hubs and libraries all have them.

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.

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.