Universal Credit is coming to Bromley and Lewisham
From July 2018 people living in Lewisham and Bromley will be able to claim Universal Credit as the following benefits are being phased out:
From July 2018 you will be unable to make a new claim for these benefits.
Any claims made before or which are not fully processed by July 2018 may see their total benefit award change under Universal Credit. This could be an increase or could be a reduction depending on your circumstances.
For those transferring from benefits which have been instated for longer than this, their Universal Credit amount will initially be at least the same money, however that may change as your circumstances change.
How universal credit differs:
The new benefit is structured differently from the old benefits so it is only paid once a month unless you can provide evidence that this will be very difficult for you to manage. If you are worried about this and still need your housing payments to go straight to your landlord, for instance, you should raise this with your local job centre, or the Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 / 0800 328 9344
In each month (called an Assessment Period) you will need to tell your job coach of any changes and all money received. The amount you receive through Universal Credit will then be adjusted accordingly. It is especially important to do this if your working hours vary to avoid being charged for overpayments.
All adults will be expected to meet with their job coaches. How often will depend on your circumstances and whether you are looking for work or not.
What to do in a financial emergency:
Advance Payment: You can apply for this if you need help to pay your bills or cover other costs while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment. You pay the advance back from your Universal Credit payments over the next 12 months. Details of how to apply for this: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/get-an-advance-first-payment
Hardship Payment: If you have been sanctioned or issued a fraud penalty, a hardship payment could be issued to cover accommodation, heating, food or clothing. To apply for this, contact your local job centre or the Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 / 0800 328 9344
Other financial support: There are other types of support which may still be available to you under Universal Credit including Discretionary Housing Payments, Council Tax Reductions and various grants and one-off payments for specific purposes. More details of this here: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/other-financial-support
Split payments: For couples the money will all be paid to one of you as default. You can request split payments in exceptional circumstances such as domestic violence or if your partner is not using the money for the household’s needs. To do this you should contact your job centre directly or call the Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 / 0800 328 9344
If you want to see how your personal financial circumstances will be affected by Universal Credit you can calculate this using the EntitledTo’s online benefits calculator:
For more detailed information on Universal Credit see the Citizens Advice website:
The Department for Work and Pensions also have a Universal Credit helpline:
For those without a Universal Credit online account:
Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
For those with a Universal Credit online account:
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Both lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm and there is no call charge.