Unviversal credit

As part of the welfare reform including the changes to Budgeting Loans and Crisis loans a new benefit has been lanched aimed at replacing many o fthe existing benefits and tax credits system. The Unversal Credit was launched at the begining af April 2013 in two pilot arears, these areas include Manchester and Chelsea.

The early introduction of Universal Credit begins in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area from April 2013. This is known as a Pathfinder, and it will trial Universal Credit six months before progressive national roll-out begins in October.

It will be delivered through the four local Jobcentres in selected areas of Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham, Warrington and Wigan.

If you live in these Pathfinder areas you will need to know if you are eligible, how the new system will work, how you can access support and advice, and how to complete your claim. This information will be available before the Pathfinder begins. You will only need to make a claim for Universal Credit if you become unemployed.

You will also need to know how to report a change of circumstances which could affect your Universal Credit payment.

Eligibility?

To be eligible to claim Universal Credit during the Pathfinder (as opposed to existing benefits), you must:

? live in a specified postcode area but not be homeless, in supported or temporary accommodation or a homeowner

? be single, with no dependent children, a British citizen and aged between 18 years and 60 years and 6 months

? be fit for work

? not have a claim to Jobseeker?s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) that ended in the last two weeks, except where ESA ended due to a decision that you no longer have limited capability for work

? not be pregnant or be within 15 weeks after the expected date of birth;

? not be receiving existing benefits (including Housing Benefit) or Tax Credits or awaiting a decision on, or be appealing against, a decision not to award any of those

? not be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

? have expected take home pay no higher than ?270 per month (under 25s) or ?330 per month (25 or over) and not have savings in excess of ?6,000

? not have any caring responsibilities

? not be self-employed, in education or have to rely on an appointee; and

? have a valid bank account and National Insurance Number.

If you are in employed work and do not have take home pay over ?270 (if aged under 25) or ?330 (if age 25 or over) you may also be eligible to claim Universal Credit.

Making a claim?

You will make a claim for Universal Credit online at www.gov.uk/universalcredit.

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