News

Universal Credit is here! Make sure you’re ready

Release Date: 22-Sep-2017
The benefits system is changing – and you’ll need to change too to make sure you don’t lose out.
Make sure you're ready for Universal Credit

Make sure you're ready for Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is the new single monthly payment that replaces several of the most commonly-claimed benefits. At the moment, it only affects new single household claimants in Kirklees, but it will eventually affect everyone who claims any of the following:

• Income based job seekers allowance
• Income related employment and support allowance
• Income Support
• Child Tax credits
• Working Tax Credits
• Housing Benefit

Many tenants who have moved onto UC are already getting into difficulties. Make sure you’re not one of them by being prepared for the change.

You will need to be able to
• Complete an online claim as soon as you know you’re going onto UC – this will avoid extra delays in payment
• Make sure you have a bank account that can receive your benefit electronically and make electronic payments such as Direct Debits to pay your rent
• Budget on a monthly basis rather than a weekly or fortnightly basis

As a Kirklees tenant, the most important change is that you will be responsible for paying your own rent.

• All your benefits, including Housing Benefit, will be paid to you as a single payment once a month.
• You will need to pay rent yourself. It will no longer be paid by Housing Benefit.
• You will not receive your first payment until one calendar month plus 7 days after the date of your claim. This payment will include an allowance for one month’s rent.
• Housing Benefit will stop at the effective date of the UC claim – this means you will owe at least five weeks rent. You will be expected to pay this back over time.

If you are told that you will be moved onto UC, contact KNH as soon as you know your payment date to set up a Direct Debit to pay your rent. This should be done as a monthly payment as close to your Universal Credit payment date as possible.

Call 01484 414886 to set up a Direct Debit.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

If you are struggling to pay your rent, you need to talk to us as soon as possible so we can help. We have a confidential, professionally qualified debt advice team whose main role is to help people manage their budgets and sort out any debts. They can help set up an affordable arrangement so you can pay any rent arrears and can also help negotiate with any other people you owe money to and keep you out of court.

This change from one benefit system to another will cause some tenants problems, but we can help!

Please contact the team on 01484 414975

What if I don’t pay my rent?

Tenants’ rent pays for all council housing services in Kirklees – repairs, improvements, new developments, energy efficiency schemes, gas servicing, support for vulnerable tenants, community development and support, caretaking services – you name it. Not paying rent puts those services at risk and also puts your own home at risk.

If you don’t pay your rent – and you don’t seek help or support from us – we will take court action to take back your home. Last year, we evicted 149 households for rent arrears.

As well as potentially losing your home, you will also be liable for court costs, which are at least £355.

We do all we can to help tenants who are struggling to pay their rent, so if you’re having problems, you need to get in touch as soon as possible.