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Changes to welfare system sees Universal Credit arrive in High Wycombe

| September 5, 2018

High Wycombe Jobcentre. (Archive picture)

From Wednesday 5th September 2018 changes to the state welfare system will make Universal Credit available to more people in High Wycombe.

Universal Credit will replace six benefits with one monthly payment and is already being claimed in High Wycombe by single job seekers.

From Wednesday 5th September 2018 Universal Credit will be available to anyone in High Wycombe who would previously have made a claim to any of the following benefits :

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Employment and Support Allowance.
  • Income support.
  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Child Tax Credit.
  • Housing Benefit.

A £1.5bn package of improvements making it easier for people moving onto Universal Credit was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the November 2017 Budget.

People applying to Universal Credit can now receive a 100% advance on their first payment and the 7-day waiting period for new claimants was removed earlier this year. Among other improvements, from April 2018 the Government also continues to pay Housing Benefit claimants’ rent for two weeks – which is non-recoverable – when moving onto Universal Credit.

Minister for Employment Alok Sharma said: ‘Universal Credit is central to our commitment to help families improve their lives by moving into work. We know it’s working – with Universal Credit people are moving into work faster and staying in work longer than under the old system.

And now we are rolling it out to a wider range of people in a safe and controlled way. From today, more people in High Wycombe, including families and disabled people, can claim Universal Credit and access the extra help it provides.

In High Wycombe single job seekers are already receiving support from their dedicated work coach to find employment or increase their hours and earnings. Now, all types of claimants will be able to benefit from the improved, personalised, one-to-one support that Universal Credit offers.

Jan White, local Jobcentre Plus Senior Partnership Manager, said: ‘Universal Credit offers tailored support, which includes more personalised help from a work coach. The new system is also more flexible, which means people can take on short-term work to develop their skills and build up their experience.

Our staff are trained to support people throughout the claim process. We’d encourage anyone who needs extra help or information to come and talk to their work coach.

Anyone on Universal Credit will now have 24-hour access to an online account that they can use to manage their claim, including reporting changes of circumstances, checking the details of their claim and date of their next Universal Credit payment.

Under Universal Credit, claimants are better off when they move into work because the benefit gradually decreases as they earn more; smoothing the path to employment and replacing the benefits cliff edge of the past. As part of this, the Work Allowance – the amount someone can earn before their Universal Credit is reduced – was raised by 3% from April 2018. This means a working family not in receipt of housing support are able to earn £409 per month before their benefit claim is affected.

Further support for working families under Universal Credit means that those who move into work can claim back up to 85% of their eligible childcare costs, potentially boosting their finances by over £13,000 a year.

Further information on how to claim Universal Credit is available at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk.

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