Housing Benefit claimants urged to be prepared as Universal Credit rolls out in Chichester District

Working age housing benefit claimants in Chichester District are being urged to be prepared ahead of the Government’s roll-out of the new Universal Credit system.

The new system will be launched in the majority of the district from Wednesday July 4 2018. Some of the district’s postcodes which are covered by Guildford will go live with the system much later, in October.

Universal Credit replaces the following means tested benefits and tax credits for working age people: income support, income based job seekers allowance, income related employment and support allowance, housing benefit, child tax credit and working tax credit.

The new arrangements will mean that most people who are of working age and need to make a new claim for any of the above benefits – including the council’s housing benefit – will need to claim Universal Credit instead. There are some exceptions, for example large families, people who are in supported / exempt accommodation or temporary accommodation.

Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and claimants will receive a single payment rather than having to make separate claims for each different benefit.

People needing to claim Universal Credit from July 4 will only be able to make and maintain their claims online. In order to start the process people are being urged to ensure that they have already verified their identity at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introducing-govuk-verify/introducing-govuk-verify

People who do not have access to the internet can use the computers at Chichester District Council’s offices at East Pallant House, East Pallant, Chichester.

The council is also offering some assisted digital support to help people who are not online, and claimants will need to book an appointment for this service. People who would like to book an appointment should contact the Revenues team on 01243 534509 or by emailing benefits@chichester.gov.uk

People can also access budgeting and advice when making a claim online using the DWP’s toolkit at http://ucpp.dwp.gov.uk/universal-credit-preparation/Default.aspx

People can find more information about Universal Credit at www.gov.uk/universal-credit or www.chichester.gov.uk/article/30274/Universal-credit