New Guide from the ME Association: Explaining Universal Credit | 01 April 2019

 

Introduction

Universal Credit (UC) is a new, non-taxable benefit for people of working age that has been introduced to replace means-tested benefits (excluding Council Tax Reduction, which is still claimed separately via your local authority).

It is in its infancy and legislation is changing all the time. Therefore, please be aware that the information in this guide, whilst correct at time of writing, could go out of date at any time.

This Guide to Universal Credit was written by Ann Innes, consultant welfare rights adviser to the ME Association.

Ann has been supporting people with ME/CFS to claim the benefits they are entitled to since 2012 – when she was employed by the Stockport ME Group.

She is now in private practice helping disabled people access benefits, social care support, appropriate housing and other services.

Means-tested benefits are those benefits awarded to households on a low income with savings and capital below £16,000.

The means-tested benefits UC has replaced are:

  • Income support (IS);
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance (IBJSA);
  • Income-related employment and support allowance (IRESA);
  • Housing benefit (HB);
  • Child tax credit (CTC);
  • Working tax credit (WTC).

This means that if you are making a new claim for any of these benefits or, if you are currently on any of these benefits and have certain changes of circumstances, you will be asked to claim UC instead of the old ‘means tested’ equivalent.

Universal Credit aims to combine all the old means-tested benefits into one single benefit. This will be made in one calendar monthly payment, directly to the person claiming – similar to being paid a monthly salary by an employer.

The ME Association Guide to Universal Credit provides an overview of this latest benefit and explains who can claim, how to claim, how much you might receive, what to do if you are in financial hardship, the move from income-based ESA to UC, what to do if you disagree with any decision, and much, much, more.

This new guide is part of a range of information the ME Association provides to help support welfare benefit claims made for ME/CFS and is now available to order or download from the website shop.

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