Six benefits to be replaced with Universal Credit – what do claimants need to know?

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Universal Credit: Expert discusses benefits of claiming

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So-called legacy benefits will be entirely wiped from the Department for Work and Pensions offerings by 2024. They will all be encapsulated by Universal Credit which Britons will be asked to make a claim for.

The following benefits are being replaced by Universal Credit: 

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

Citizens Advice noted claimants can make the switch to Universal Credit when their benefit ends, provided it is before the 2024 deadline. 

However, claimants that are applying as a couple cannot both have reached state pension age. 

Couples over the state pension age can look to apply for Pension Credit instead.

If only one member of the couple is above state pension age they will not be able to make a new claim for Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

Claimants can continue to receive their current benefits unless their situation changes in a way that will affect their eligibility.

When making a claim for Universal Credit, any legacy benefits currently being issued will end for the claimant and they will not be able to go back to them in the future.

Because of this, Citizens Advice shared Britons should ensure that they will actually be better off on Universal Credit before applying.

Certain changes of circumstances, such as in one’s work, home or family situation could make them ineligible for the benefit they are currently claiming. 

In this circumstance, it is best for them to apply for Universal Credit Citizens Advice shared. 

Changes of circumstances usually have to be reported to the DWP regardless of the benefit shift. 

Not reporting a change could see one receiving less than they are entitled to and missing out on payments that may not be able to be backdated. 

Even worse could be the chance that a change of circumstances means one’s benefits payments should have reduced. 

Not reporting these changes, whether accidentally or on purpose, could see one found guilty of benefits fraud as they received something they weren’t entitled to. 

Benefits fraud can result in sanctions, fines of up to £5,000 or having to pay back the overpaid benefits amount. 

Britons receiving Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits need to inform HMRC about change of circumstances. 

It usually takes five weeks to receive one’s first Universal Credit payment but it could take even longer if claiming for the first time. 

So long as the benefit hasn’t ended, Britons can continue receiving their legacy benefit for two weeks after they have applied for Universal Credit. 

These extra payments won’t need to be paid back and won’t affect their Universal Credit payments. 

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