The national roll-out of universal credit will start in Bassetlaw next week.
The single payment will eventually replace the six benefits of income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), income-related employment and support allowance, income support, working tax credit, child tax credit and housing benefit.
The welfare reform comes into force on Monday 23rd February and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates it will affect around 1.350 claimants in Bassetlaw.
Universal credit is a single payment that replaces certain benefits, including Housing Benefit, for people aged 18 to 60+6 months who are on a low income or out of work.
Coun Sylvia May, cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: “The introduction of universal credit will initially affect a small number of new claimants and if you are already in receipt of benefits, you won’t be affected just yet.”
“We appreciate that some people may experience difficulties with the new system and in the first instance these people should call the DWP for advice. If you still continue to experience difficulties the staff at Bassetlaw Council will be able to help.”
Universal credit will be paid differently from current benefits and recipients will be paid calendar monthly in a single payment.
As of next week, residents who meet the criteria and who become unemployed will no longer be able to claim housing benefit from the council, and will instead get help with their rent included in their monthly universal credit payment from the DWP.
In a recent report, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, said: “For local authorities, universal credit requires that new local partnerships are developed, joining up services for the most vulnerable to deliver holistic support that helps people get online.”
If you have any questions about universal credit, call the DWP on 0345 600 0723.