Universal Credit is a means tested benefit that is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. It replaces the following in-and-out of work benefits (commonly referred to as legacy benefits) for working-age applicants:
- Housing Benefit
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
If you live in Sefton, it will no longer be possible to claim any of the above ‘legacy benefits’ unless you fit into one of the following groups:
If you are single you are classed as a pensioner once you have reached your 66th Birthday.
If you are part of a couple**, you are classed as a pensioner if you have both reached your 66th Birthday.
If you are part of a couple and only one of you have reached your 66th Birthday, in most cases this will mean you may need to claim Universal Credit. However, couples who were already claiming Housing Benefit or Pension Credit as at 14/05/2019, may be able to stay on Housing Benefit and Pension Credit, and in certain, specific cases may be able to make a new claim for Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.
**You are part of a couple if you live with your partner. A partner is someone you are married to or have a civil partnership with, or a person you live with as if you were their husband, wife or civil partner.
Tenants of certain types of Supported Accommodation will receive help with their rent from Housing Benefit, rather than Universal Credit, even if they receive Universal Credit for their other living costs.
This provision is restricted to accommodation which is classified as 'Specified Accommodation'
Specified Accommodation includes the following: -
- Domestic violence refuges
- Homeless Hostels (but not self-contained properties)
- Properties owned by either Housing Associations, registered charities or voluntary organisations and you require and receive support in your home which is more than minimal.
In most cases, if you live in supported housing, your landlord should be able to tell you whether or not your home is classed as 'Specified Accommodation' or not. Alternatively, you can ring the council directly for further advice or guidance on this matter.
However, as a general rule, the following categories of tenants do not fall under the definition of 'Specified Accommodation':
- Tenants of sheltered accommodation for over 50s
- Tenants who receive low levels of support or floating support which amounts to less than 2 – 3 hours per week.
If you currently have an entitlement to Housing benefit or a DWP means-tested benefit (listed below) which includes (or has done within the last month) a severe disability premium, you cannot make a claim for Universal Credit. You will instead remain on, or make a new claim for legacy benefits. However, following a change in the law, from 27/1/2021, customers meeting this criteria will not be able to make a new claim for any legacy benefits, but will instead be able to make a claim for Universal Credit.
What is Severe Disability Premium (SDP)?
The Severe Disability Premium is an amount paid to severely disabled people as part of the following means-tested benefits:
- Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
- Income Related Employment Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
To qualify for Severe Disability Premium, a person must meet all the following 3 conditions
Be entitled to one of the following benefits
- The care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) the middle or higher rate
- The Daily Living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance
- Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
The person must have no one in receipt of Carers Allowance, or the Carer Element of Universal Credit for looking after them.
The person must be living alone, or be classed as living alone – For the purposes of Severe Disability Premium, a person is classed as living alone if every other adult living in their household (including spouse or partner) also meet the same 3 conditions for the Severe Disability Premium.
You may also be classed as living alone if you share your accommodation with other people (that are not part of your household or are you are not connected to), e.g. you live in a house of multiple occupation with separate bedsits etc.
If you are still unsure about whether the Severe Disability Premium applies to you and would like to discuss the matter further, please contact the councils Community & Liaison Officer directly on 0151 934 3946 for further advice and assistance.
All customers in receipt of Universal Credit still need to claim Council Tax Reduction for help toward paying their Council Tax. You can apply Council Tax Reduction in the 'Do it online' section of this page.