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Universal Credit in Croydon - what you need to know

Croydon is a Universal Credit area, and you may have heard that the government is rolling out this new benefit across the country. But what is it and how will it affect you?

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What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a monthly payment for working-aged adults on a low income, including people who are working and out of work. It replaces:

- Child Tax Credit.

- Housing Benefit.

- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

- Income-related Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

- Income Support.

- Working Tax Credit.

Do I have to claim Universal Credit?

Croydon is a full Universal Credit area, so if you want to make a new claim for any of these benefits, you will need to apply for Universal Credit. You will also need to apply for Universal Credit if you receive one of these benefits and your circumstances change.

However, if you already receive these benefits and your circumstances haven’t changed, you do not have to do anything until the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) tells you otherwise. The government currently plans to begin moving people who are still claiming the old benefits onto Universal Credit from 2019.

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What will I get?

The amount of Universal Credit you’ll receive depends not just on your personal income, but on your household’s financial circumstances. Your basic allowance will depend on your age and whether you are single or in a couple, but you may be entitled to additional allowances, such as a carer element if you care for someone. Please note that is not the same as Carer’s Allowance.

How do I claim Universal Credit?

To claim Universal Credit, you will need to start and manage your claim online: www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. Bear in mind that it takes at least five weeks to receive your first payment, unless you ask for an advance (which you will need to pay back).

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Helping Croydon carers with Universal Credit

If you’re worried or confused about Universal Credit, don’t panic! South West London Law Centres is running a short workshop for Croydon carers on the basics of Universal Credit on Tuesday 31 July, 10.30am - 11.30am at the Carers Support Centre. Carers can also book two further short workshops: Switch and Save on Tuesday 7 August, 10.30am - 11.30am and Budgeting on Tuesday 21 August, 10.30am - 11.30am. All workshops are free and open to carers in Croydon.

Booking is essential. To book one, some or all three workshops, call 020 8663 5674 or email enquiries@carersinfo.org.uk.

Further sources of information on Universal Credit

Apply online for Universal Credit on GOV.UK.

Croydon Council has local information on Universal Credit.

EntitledTo allows you to work out which benefits you may be entitled with an online benefit calculator.

Turn2Us offers information on benefits and grants in the UK, including Universal Credit.

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Carers Support Centre

Open weekdays 10am - 4pm, feel free to drop in for advice or support with any issues related to caring.
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