January 2019

Families First News

The latest news

Universal Credit Update

The roll-out of Universal Credit is now complete across Hertfordshire.  New claims can no longer be made for income-based JSA, income support, income-related ESA, housing benefit (unless the claimant is in temporary or ‘specified’ accommodation), child tax credit or working tax credit.

Those already on these benefits can stay on them unless they have a change of circumstances. But if your client needs to make a new claim for one of these benefits, they cannot. Instead they can claim UC, except in certain situations (see below).

There are situations in which a claim for UC is necessary, but sometimes a better-off calculation needs to be done to check that claiming UC is the best way forward – contact the MAU on 01438 843444 or moneyadvice.unit@hertfordshire.gov.uk.  Note that if your client already gets CTC and needs to add WTC, or vice versa, this can be done as it does not count as a new claim.

There are two situations where the family can (or will be able to) claim legacy benefits instead of UC. These are if:

  • they have three or more children – in this case they cannot make a new claim for UC, but can claim legacy benefits instead. This exception is currently due to end on 31/1/19.
  • they get a severe disability premium in their legacy benefits, from 16/1/19. They cannot make a new claim for UC, but can claim (other) legacy benefits instead.

Further UC changes were announced in the Budget on 29 October, including an increase in the work allowance from April 2019. The work allowance – an amount parents and people with an illness/disability can earn before UC starts to reduce – is increasing by around £1,000 a year. This means an extra £630 or so of UC over a year for working parents on universal credit”

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