Universal Credit aims to ensure that you will be better off in work and makes it easier for you to start a new job or work more hours. As your take home pay increases, universal credit will gradually reduce, meaning that your benefits don't end immediately if you are on a low income.
Universal credit merges a number of existing benefits into one single payment:
The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for administering Universal Credit and not your local council.
Universal Credit is being introduced in stages and it is intended to be fully implemented by 2017.
Singles and couples with no dependent children can apply for Universal Credit if they meet all of the criteria set by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
For people who do not meet the criteria and need to claim an existing benefit, in most cases this can be done online:
Universal Credit applications are online only.
If you don't have access to a computer, there are free public access computers available at all the libraries in South Hams along with the Council Offices in Totnes. These computers are available to be used by residents free of charge to apply for Universal Credit.
Budgeting on benefits or low income can be challenging but if you would like help or advice to manage money we can help you with
To claim Universal Credit people are being advised to open a basic bank account.
For anyone who thinks they may struggle to manage their money on Universal Credit or is already in debt, support is available, you can ask your Job Centre Advisor to refer you to the Council so that we can arrange for assistance to be provided.
Support is also available from:
MA (Money Advice Service) is a free Government funded help and impartial advice service providing 24/7 advice.
Find out more information through the Money Advice Service.
If you make a claim for universal credit and you are responsible for council tax you will need to council tax reduction.
Do not delay making your claim as we cannot backdate your council tax reduction and you may have to pay more council tax as a result.