From 26th September 2018 Universal Credit Full Service will start in the Gorbals. This means that if you are working age and get any of the six benefits that are listed below, they will be replaced by Universal Credit.
Universal Credit will replace:
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
- Income Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
We have two Welfare Rights Officers and a rent team who can help you with any queries relating to Universal Credit.
What's different about Universal Credit?
Some of the new differences of Universal Credit are:
- It will be paid monthly into a bank account of your choice.
- If you get help with your rent, previously paid as housing benefit, this will be included in your monthly payment. You will then pay New Gorbals Housing Association (your Landlord) directly.
- If you live with your partner, and you are both eligible, you will get one monthly joint payment.
- You will usually get your first payment one calendar month and 7 days after you make your first claim. e.g. if you make your claim on 6th October 2018 your monthly assessment period (MAP) will be from 6th October till 5th November and you should receive your first payment on the 12th November 2018.
- You will be expected to make your claim online and manage your claim online. You will receive all notifications from the job centre into your online journal which you will be required to check regularly.
- You will need to sign a claimant commitment.
- The job centre will designate a work coach to assist you.
What’s the Claimant Commitment?
When you claim Universal Credit you will need to accept your Claimant Commitment.
In most instances your claimant commitment will be drawn up during a conversation with your work coach at your local job centre. The local job centre to here is Laurieston Job Centre, 159-181 Pollokshaws Road. This will outline what you need to do in order to be paid, and continue to receive, your full Universal Credit award.
Your claimant commitment will be continually reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. Each time it is updated you need to sign a new claimant commitment. Your Universal Credit payments may be cut if you don’t meet your responsibilities.
If you claim Universal Credit as a couple, both of you will need to accept a Claimant Commitment, and yours may be affected if your partner starts work or their circumstances change.
Your Claimant Commitment should be tailored to your situation. Your responsibilities will vary depending on such things as your family, your health and your potential for future earnings.
If you fail to meet one of your responsibilities outlined in your claimant commitment then it clearly states you will have a cut in your benefit, known as a sanction, if you can’t give a good reason to explain why.
Depending on on the reason for the sanction and how many times you have failed to meet your responsibilities, a sanction can last for up to 3 years.
It is important to check your journal regularly, maintain it in line with your Claimant Commitment and seek help from your job coach if you have any doubts about what you are being asked.
How to get ready for Universal Credit
Here are six ways to get ready for Universal Credit.
- Know when Full Service Universal Credit is happening in your area. It is happening in Gorbals on 26th September 2018.
- Ensure you have a bank account to receive your Universal Credit Payments. If you do not have a bank account then it is important you open one as soon as possible. It should be an account that you can receive payments and set up direct debits or standing orders. Scotcash have staff who can assist you to do this.
- If you live with a partner, decide whether you need to open a joint account with them. If you’re both eligible for Universal Credit, you will get a single monthly payment into one account.
- Know how to manage your rent payments. If you get support with your rent, previously paid as Housing Benefit, this will now be paid as part of your Universal Credit payments. This is known as the Housing Element of your Universal Credit and it is your responsibility to pay you rent.
- Start a budget. You may need to make changes to the way you plan and spend, especially if you move from the old to the new system.
- Get online as you need to make your claim online and manage you journal online. This includes getting an email address. If you need assistance there are staff at the local library who can help you improve your online skills.
From 31st January 2018 people living in Scotland and claiming full service Universal Credit can choose to:
- Be paid either monthly or twice monthly; and
- Have the housing costs in their award of Universal Credit paid direct to their Landlord.
- You will not be able to choose this option until you transfer onto full service and maintain your claim online.
Glasgow City Council and their partner agencies have put a range of different supports in place to help residents in Glasgow through the process of applying for full service Universal Credit. Some key numbers are as follows:
Advice Direct Scotland - Helpline 0808 169 9901
Gain Website – Web chat
Glasgow Life libraries have Universal Credit support officers based in certain libraries to help you through the process. The nearest library providing this service is Govanhill Library and Learning Centre, 170 Langside Road, Glasgow.
Scotcash can assist you to open a bank account. You can visit them at 55 High Street, Glasgow. You can also call them on 0141 276 0525.