Benefits update

Following on the budget last week here is some information about benefits.

Universal credit

Universal Credit (UC) is currently only paid to new claimants who are single, jobseekers, fit for work and who do not have any children (The Live Service). The full service (everyone else) is not yet available to claimants in Nottinghamshire. The government has previously announced the rollout of the full service, but the rate of deployment is now being delayed for some areas. The new timetable for UC in Nottinghamshire is as follows

December 2017 – Bassetlaw

May 2018 – Newark and Sherwood, Long Eaton (some parts of Broxtowe)

September 2018 – Mansfield

October 2018 – Nottingham City and Rushcliffe

November 2018 – Ashfield, Gedling & Broxtowe

***** Stop Press ***** The Department for Work and Pensions has announced an end to accepting claims to the Live Service from the end of December 2017. This means that new claimants will claim legacy benefits (JSA, ESA, IS, HB, WTC & CTC) from January 2018 until the start of the rollout of the full service in their area. This will not affect existing recipients of UC, who will continue to receive UC.

New claimants of Universal Credit currently can request an advance of 50% of their first months Universal Credit entitlement before they receive their first payment. They have to repay it over 6 months. From January 2018 new claimants will be able to request an advance of up to 100% of their first months entitlement and will have to repay the advance over 12 months instead.

New claimants currently are not entitled to any payment for the first 7 days of their claim. They will then have an assessment period of 1 month and then be paid within a week of the end of their assessment period. Payments after this time will be made monthly. From February 2018 the 7 day waiting period will be removed for all new claimants of UC. They will then have to wait one month and 7 days from claim to first payment.

From April 2018, existing recipients of Housing Benefit will continue to receive Housing Benefit for the first 2 weeks of their UC claim.

The Government have announced that they will make it easier for claimants of UC to have the Housing Element for rent paid direct to their landlords.

Benefit increases

From April 2018 state pension and pension credit are increasing by 3% or £3.65 per week. There will be increases to disability and carer benefits, but other benefits will continue to be frozen at 2015 rates.