Universal Credit Begins Rollout
Monday 15 February
The new Universal Credit will begin to be introduced in the Vale of Glamorgan from February 2016.
Under this new system claims for Housing Benefit will start to be made as part of the Universal Credit claim to Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), instead of the Vale of Glamorgan Council. This will initially be for a limited number of customers who would have previously made a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance.
In preparation for the switch, the Vale of Glamorgan Council, which currently takes applications for Housing Benefit, has been working closely with the DWP to support the move to Universal Credit.
The new working agreement between the Vale of Glamorgan Council and DWP will see the Council provide a local service from Monday 22 February 2016 and support to Jobcentre Plus staff deal with housing rent issues. The Council will also provide support for claimants to get online and for those with complex needs, in particular those who require personal budgeting support.
While the transition takes place, the Council will still handle Housing Benefit applications unless Jobcentre Plus advise the claimant otherwise, in which case they will notify the claimant how and where to make an application. Pensioners will not be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit and will continue to receive help with their rent in the form of Housing Benefit through the Council.
Universal Credit is being phased in across the UK as part of Westminster Government’s wider welfare reforms agenda and is being introduced to support people who are on a low income, or out of work, replacing five existing benefits. It replaces current means-tested benefits such as Housing Benefit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance and Tax Credits for working-age people and merges together the benefits and tax credits that citizens are entitled to, transferring them into a bank account in a single monthly payment.
Cllr Neil Moore, Leader of the Council, said, “We are on track to fulfil our responsibilities to ensure that residents of the Vale of Glamorgan are able to access the benefits they require through Universal Credit.
“The smooth transition to this new way of claiming benefits is extremely important, so that we do not put undue pressure on those people that rely on benefits. The Council’s work with the DWP and Jobcentre Plus will ensure that we protect some of the Vale of Glamorgan’s most vulnerable residents."