Universal Credit benefit scheme arrives in Mid Sussex

The number of JSA claimants in Peterborough has fallen.
The number of JSA claimants in Peterborough has fallen.

Mid Sussex has joined the Government’s flagship Universal Credit scheme.

The online application for the new benefit comes into place next Wednesday (June 6).

Universal Credit (UC) is a new financial assistance for people of working age on a low income, including those in work, and is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It is a single monthly payment which will eventually replace Income Support, Income Related Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Related Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Anyone receiving existing benefits will see no change, but will gradually be moved over to the UC system over time.

And if people’s situation changes they will, in most circumstances, be moved over to the new system.

Councillor Llewellyn-Burke, cabinet member for finance and performance, said: “Universal Credit aims to simplify the complex process and many different elements involved in applying for financial support.

“In preparation for this changeover we have been working hard with the DWP and other stakeholders to ensure that we are ready to fully support and assist our residents in this change.”

Mid Sussex District Coucnil has also entered into an agreement for 2019-19 with Citizens Advice to provide Assisted Digital and Personal Budgeting Support to customers in receipt of, or applying for UC.

A spokesman said: “We plan to have a presence in job centres within the district, along with Citizens Advice.”

All new claimants for UC, from June 6, will need to apply online at: www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit.

Computers in the district council’s reception area and libraries are available for people to use.

Council Tax Support is not included in the switch to UC and applications must continue to be made to the local authority.

In addition, the council has a limited fund of Discretionary Housing Payment to help those with a shortfall of housing costs within their UC.

Full details on UC including how to apply for Council Tax Support and DHP are available here.