“What is up with Universal Credit? After all the delays getting it started, I’m getting loads less than I expected each month and I’m struggling to pay my rent after everything they are taking out. My landlord is on my case and I’m desperate.”
Simi C, Camberwell
This Universal Credit (UC) certainly is difficult to get your head around!
There are a number of reasons why you might be getting less and you certainly are not alone. Request to see your statement of benefits letter on your UC journal or ask your work coach at your local jobcentre. If something doesn’t look right, maybe you can challenge it. Common deductions from UC include for an advance payment, arrears on rent, or if you have been sanctioned. You can challenge these but if you don’t feel confident, seek help from a welfare benefits adviser, (many sanctions are overturned when challenged but consult an advice agency first).
Your full rent won’t be covered if you have more bedrooms than the government thinks you need, when the Bedroom Tax applies, or if you are affected by the benefit cap. You may be eligible for ‘Discretionary Housing Payments’ so contact your local council.
Check you have claimed all the benefits you are entitled to. Many of my clients don’t realise you have to claim council tax support at local council offices, for example.