Welfare reform

Who the welfare reform affects 

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 was introduced as part of the Government’s proposals for reforming welfare to improve work incentives, simplify the benefits system and reduce expenditure.

Universal Credit

A major part of the Welfare Reform is the introduction of Universal Credit, which will eventually replace the following benefits with one monthly payment which will be paid in arrears;

  • Income Support
  • Job Seekers Allowance
  • Employment Allowance (Income Related)
  • Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit

Since 28th July 2014 Cheshire East has had Live Service Universal Credit which has meant that certain people have been able to claim Universal Credit, but they have also been able to claim Housing Benefit until their Universal Credit claim was in payment.

From 19th July 2017 part of Cheshire East will be receiving Full Service Universal Credit, this means we will no longer be able to pay Housing Benefit whilst your Universal Credit claim is completed.

Full Service will only affect residents in Cheshire East who attend Crewe Job Centre from July 2017.  The rest of the Cheshire East area will move to Full Service Universal Credit by the end of 2018.

 To find out if you are able to claim Universal Credit, and if so, how much you are likely to receive, use the Universal Credit Calculator.

Claims for Universal Credit have to be made online. 

Please have the following information with you before you start;

  • Personal information i.e. Date of Birth and National Insurance Number
  • Household information i.e. the names, ages and gender of those that live with you
  • Banking information i.e. Bank name, account number, sort code
  • Rental information i.e. Amount you pay, how often you pay, who your landlord is and details of any arrears

If you think you will struggle to manage whilst claiming Universal Credit, please discuss this with the Department of Work and Pensions when you make your claim as they will be able to offer you budget advice and support.  

A new online support tool has been launched to help Universal Credit claimants manage their money.

Money Advice Service’s Money Manager provides free, impartial budgeting information and advice for claimants, based on their personal circumstances, such as:

  • advice and guidance on how to manage a monthly income
  • money-saving hints and tips
  • signposting to other services

Claimants who have already used the tool have said that they found it helpful and user-friendly.

For further general information about Universal Credit please visit GOV.UK