Monday (29/04/13) saw one out of the four scheduled pilot areas for Universal Credit go live. Ashton under Lyne (Tameside) will see new claimants in this area affected first by the benefit changes with Wigan, Warrington and Oldham following later in July.
Turn2us, the free online charitable service has created some comprehensive fact sheets for benefits awareness month (BAM), all the details regarding when Universal Credit is introduced along with other benefit changes can be found here
HMRC has offered the following advice to claimants living in the pilot area(s) “Most people won’t be affected at this stage, and you won’t need to do anything unless you are told. There is a small chance you could be affected if you live in this area and start living with a partner who gets Universal Credit. If this happens, your tax credits claim might end, and you’d be able to claim Universal Credit with your partner instead.
Over time the rules about who will be able to claim Universal Credit will change to make it available to more people.
It will take up to four years before all tax credits claims are stopped, so don’t worry if you’re not told to claim Universal Credit soon. You should continue to report changes in your circumstances that could affect your tax credits.”
The Money advice service is as always offering very good advice in terms of what you need to do to be ready for the changes that will affect millions of claimants over the next four years. They offer simple straight forward advice starting with an action plan that advises from making sure you have the correct bank account through to helping set a monthly budget (UC will be a monthly paid benefit).
For more information on Universal Credit and how it may affect you please take a look at our useful links section of our site.
Are you a new claimant in Ashton under Lyne? Are you affected by these changes? Your opinion and experience of the new system matter, let us know how the process to claim Universal Credit has been for you.