System outage Monday 27 March 2017

On Monday 27 March 2017 at 6 pm, Derwent Living will be performing essential system maintenance which will affect all our websites, including MY Derwent Living. The maintenance will be completed as swiftly as possible. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused. If you have any questions, please call 01332 346477.

Universal Credit

universal credit logoUniversal Credit roll out has begun and will now start affecting single people making new claims in certain local authority areas. The launch will be staggered and you can see the full list of local authorities that are going live with Universal Credit between May 2016 and March 2017, here.

Universal Credit is the biggest change in a generation to how benefit claimants receive payments. It is designed to replace a number of existing benefits with a single payment which goes directly into claimants’ bank accounts. Previously Housing Benefit, one of the types of benefit that will be included in Universal Credit was paid directly to Derwent Living.

Which benefits will be affected?

First you need to be aware that there are six, means-tested types of benefits that this affects:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit.

It will also replace budgeting loans and crisis loans.  Generally speaking, any other type of benefit you might be receiving should remain unaffected.

Calculator and bank notes

How do I make a claim?

Claiming for Universal Credit can only be done online, so you will need to be able to access a computer. If you don’t have a computer in your home you will be able to access one by going to your local library, Jobcentre Plus or by visiting your local council offices. We even have a computer here, in the reception area of our head office in Derby.

To put in a claim you will need lots of information about yourself and your tenancy. This includes information about:

  • Your partner , any dependents and other people living in your home.
  • Your income and any savings you might have.
  • Your landlord or mortgage provider.
  • Your rent or mortgage charges and any service charges.

There can be up to a five week delay between making your claim and receiving your first Universal Credit payment.

You’ll have to accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’ if you want to get Universal Credit. This is an agreement that you’ll have to complete certain tasks in order to secure your claim.  What you agree to do will depend on things such as your health, your responsibilities at home, and how much help you need to get work or increase your income. More details are available from the link below.

Pension age claimants

If you and your partner (if you have one) are both retired and receiving a pension, then you will not need to claim universal credit nor be able to do so;  but you  will be able to claim pension credit instead.

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit made up of 2 parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.  Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who saved some money towards their retirement, eg a pension.  Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £148.35 (for single people) or £226.50 (for couples).

You can claim individually or as a couple. It will be income-based and you don’t pay tax on pension credit.  Unlike universal credit, you can make a claim for pension credit over the phone, rather than online, by calling 0800 99 1234.

If you’re on pension credit and receiving housing benefit,  your situation shouldn’t be affected because universal credit doesn’t affect anyone over pension credit qualifying age.  That figure is approximately very close to 66 years of age at time of writing, but depends upon when you were born. There is an online calculator that can tell you exactly what your state pension age will be here:

How will I be paid?

Payments will be made once a month, into your bank or building society. This means that if your rent was previously paid directly to us, it will now be paid into your bank account and arrangements need to be made to pay that rent to us.

If you don’t have one, you will need to open a bank account. We are now working with credit unions to enable people to open easy-to-manage accounts directly through us. Just give us a call on 01332 346477 and we can arrange for an account. Without an account you will be unable to receive benefit payments through Universal Credit.. You can find a credit union yourself by visiting this website:

What’s next?

We will be working with our resident involvement team on ways to keep everyone up-to-date about universal credit. Keep your eyes peeled for more info and advice in the months to come.

If you are concerned about how universal credit will affect you, our housing officers, rent officers and debt prevention assistants are here to help. We can discuss everything from making an application for universal credit, to budgeting once you begin to receive your benefits. Give us a call on 01332 346477 and we can discuss your options in confidence.

Don’t risk your home

Once Universal Credit comes in, your rent will no longer be paid directly to us via Housing Benefit and you will be responsible for prioritising your rent from the single payment. Your home is at risk if you do not ensure your rent is paid on time.

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