Published Friday, 09 March 2018
Tenants receiving Universal Credit can now adapt their payments in two crucial ways to help deal with the new benefits system.
Universal Credit uses a single payment to replace six benefits and tax credits: Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits.
It is designed to be paid once a month, directly into a claimant’s bank account, and payments include all housing costs that the claimant is eligible for.
As a result, tenants are personally responsible for paying their rent, whereas under the previous system, rent from Housing Benefit had been paid directly to the landlord by the government.
Councillor Josh Wilson, the chair of the council's Housing and Technical Resources, said: “Tenants on Universal Credit clearly face challenges and risk suffering financial problems because of the difficulty of making the payment last a whole month, and may find themselves without enough left to pay their rent.
“This is a great worry to people, because keeping a roof over your head is one of the most important things in life.
“However, in Scotland these are two areas where there is actually a choice that may help many people. Called UC Choices, this allows tenants to opt to have the housing element of their UC paid direct to their landlord, while claimants can also choose to receive their payments split into two payments in a month, instead of just one.
“For many people, this is much more suitable and I would urge anyone who thinks it would help them to contact our Benefits are Changing Team by emailing them at email@example.com or by calling 0303 123 1012.”