Roll out of Universal Credit across the Forest of Dean begins on 22 November
Wednesday 22 November 2017 will see the roll out of Universal Credit commence across the Forest of Dean district for new benefit claimants.
Administered by the government’s Department for Work and Pensions, Universal Credit is a new online single payment benefit system for working age people who are unemployed or on a low income. Under this scheme several existing benefits and tax credits will be merged into a single payment to ensure that claimants are financially better off in work.
Universal Credit will replace the following:
- Jobseekers’ Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Housing Benefits
It will be introduced to Cinderford Job Centre Plus office from 22 November and Coleford Job Centre Plus office from 29 November. It will be introduced to Gloucester Job Centre Plus office from February 2018, and Ross-on-Wye and Chepstow from June 2018.
Existing claimants will continue to receive housing benefit from the Council under the previous system unless there is a significant change affecting their claim.
New claimants with three or more children and claimants who live in certain types of accommodation where support is provided will not move to the new system.
Universal Credit is run by the Department of Work and Pensions and not the District Council, however the Council acknowledges that this is a major change to the benefits system, especially with all claims having to be made online. A range of support will be available to help new benefit claimants as the changes are phased in, including:
- General advice and assistance with online form filling
- Targeted advice on personal budgeting
- Free online access through computers in the Council’s reception area
- Easy to read communication materials
- A dedicated Universal Credit webpage providing general and targeted advice
Council tax support which is a reduction on the council tax bill will still be administered by the Council and all customers, regardless of whether they move to Universal Credit, should continue to contact the Council.
Further information on Universal Credit can be found by visiting the government’s website www.gov.uk/universal-credit