With thanks to CPAG for the following information: The ‘full service’ of universal credit (UC) is now rolled out in all areas. New claims can no longer be made for income-based JSA, income support, income-related ESA, housing benefit (unless you are in temporary or ‘specified’ accommodation), child tax credit or working tax credit.
If you are already on these benefits you can stay on them, but if you need to make a new claim for one of these benefits you cannot. Instead you can claim UC.
Note that if you already get child tax credit and need to add working tax credit, or vice versa, this can be done as it does not count as a new claim.
There are two situations where you can (or will be able to) claim legacy benefits instead of UC. These are if:
- you have three or more children – in this case you cannot make a new claim for UC, but can claim legacy benefits instead. This exception is currently due to end on 31/1/19, but could be extended.
- you get a severe disability premium in your legacy benefits, from 16/1/19 (note: this date could change). You cannot make a new claim for UC, but can claim (other) legacy benefits instead. This provision is subject to parliamentary approval.
Warm Home Discount
A lot of people don’t realise that they can apply for the ‘warm home discount’ if you’re on benefits. You may be eligible for it – it provides a discount for your energy bill for the following year. You apply direct to your energy provider and, if eligible, you will get the discount. It applies even if you use a cash meter. Search the website of your energy provider or phone them up to find out how you apply.
Each company can be different and have different criteria. This year the scheme will open on 15 October 2018. This date may change so keep checking to make sure.
[Last updated: December 2018]