A new benefit called Universal credit is being introduced to replace most existing benefits and tax credits.
At the moment, most welfare benefits are paid separately. The main change with U.C. is that all of the benefits a claimant receives, including housing benefit, will be paid in one lump sum, every month, into a bank account, credit union account or post office card account.
All benefits will be paid in one lump sum, every month, into a bank, credit union or post office card account.
Most of our tenants who claim housing benefit have it paid directly from the local authority housing benefit department to us, as their landlord. If this applies to you, you need to be aware that when your claim moves over to become a claim for U.C., your housing costs will be included in that claim and will be paid directly to you, not to us. This means you will be responsible for making sure you pay us your rent on time, and you probably need to start thinking now about how you will do that.
You will be responsible for ensuring your rent is paid on time, and it’s important to start thinking about how you will do that.
The simplest thing to do would be to set up a direct debit from your bank account. We are also going to increase the options and choices for our tenants, so that there will be a variety of ways in which you can pay your rent. You will be able to pay online or by telephone if you have a debit card. If you want to pay in cash, you will be able to use a ‘pay point’ locally, using a card we will provide you with.
The major change is that you will be receiving all of your benefits in one lump sum, on a monthly basis. If you aren’t used to dealing with your money in this way, you will need to start to think about how to budget, so that your important bills get paid at the right time and so that you don’t run out of money.
It is particularly important that you make sure that your rent is paid at the right time, particularly if you have been used to housing benefit paying it directly to us.
The date changes at Bexley will start to happen
The changes in Bexley will start to happen from February 2016. At first, they will only apply to people who are single and who are making a new claim. If there was a break in your claim – for example, if you went back to work for a few weeks or months, but then had to start to claim again – this would count as a new claim and you would be put onto U.C. The changes will be rolled out to everyone else over a period of time.
We know these changes are confusing and we will be working with you to help with information and advice. We will be running a series of open events in the local area, which you can come along to and find out more. Even if you aren’t going to be affected immediately, we would encourage you to come, as the changes are going to affect the way in which you manage your money.
We will also be arranging to see all of our tenants who will be affected once the changes have been introduced to discuss how you can plan to pay your rent as these changes take effect. We can also help you to think about opening bank accounts and so on, if that’s what you need.