Compared with the benefit system we have now, universal credit will be different in a number of ways.
The main changes for the majority of people are that:
- It will be a single benefit payment
- It will be paid monthly into a bank account
- You will claim it online
- You will have your own online account
- There are changes to who can get help with childcare costs
- If you are working and pay tax through the PAYE system your benefit will be calculated on income figures your employer sends to HMRC
- It will not be necessary to tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about every change in income
- Housing benefit will be paid directly to you and not the landlord
- Some expenses, for example, childcare will need to be updated regularly on your account (probably monthly).
What benefits are being replaced?
Universal credit will replace the following benefits:
- Child tax credit
- Housing benefit
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- Support for mortgage interest
- Working tax credit (including help with childcare costs)
- Parts of the social fund.
Anyone under pension credit age who is claiming any of the benefits listed above will be affected by the changes.
Other benefits including child benefit, carer’s allowance, maternity allowance and bereavement benefits will not be affected by universal credit and will remain as separate benefits (although in the next year or two there may be some changes to these benefits as well).
Will child maintenance payments affect universal credit?
No, this is not changing. Any child maintenance payments that you receive will not affect the amount of universal credit that you are entitled to.