Universal credit: spring update


Universal credit is still very much happening, however, there have been some changes which will affect any future claimants.

The full service roll-out has also been delayed slightly, in most cases by two or three months. For example, the Derby City Council area was due to move to the full service in April 2018 but this will now happen in July 2018.

You can check when the area you live in is due to begin the full service roll-out by visiting our universal credit page and using the handy post code checker.

Critically, the initial 7-day “eligibility” waiting period has been removed. This was on top of the usual waiting periods, so the removal of this first week without money will help reduce the time claimants go without income.

The universal credit help line is now FREE and you can talk to an adviser on 0800 328 5644 if you need help. This is great news, as it was previously charged at up to 55p a minute.

From April 2018, to reduce problems with housing benefit arrears, there will be an additional payment of two weeks’ rent for new claimants already receiving help with their housing costs.

By far the best thing you can do to prepare for universal credit is to get in advance with your rent. By paying a small amount on top of your rent each week, you can build up a credit on your account, which is a requirement of your tenancy agreement.

If you want to know more about universal credit, visit www.gov.uk/universalcredit.