Universal Credit is a new benefit for working-age people, replacing six different benefits and merging them into one. Armley Labour councillor ALICE SMART has more details – and urges people to seek help if they need it.
A single universal credit payment is paid directly into claimants’ bank accounts to cover whichever benefits they are eligible for. This new system was announced by David Cameron in 2010 and has been being rolled out gradually since then.
According to the latest statistics provided by the Department of Work and Pensions, there are currently 303 Universal Credit claimants in Armley. 208 are unemployed and 107 are in employment. This number will increase as we move towards full roll out of Universal Credit.
There are a number of ways Leeds City Council is supporting these claimants both through Armley One Stop Centre and citywide.
- Online support for individuals who need help making a Universal Credit claim. This is either via providing access to a PC to self-serve or full support for people with limited digital skills to enable them to make a claim.
- Budgeting support for people who need some help managing the monthly Universal Credit payment.
- Ensuring anybody on Universal Credit who is in crisis in terms of no food and/or heating is referred to apply to the Local Welfare Support Scheme for access to food parcels and heating tokens for pre-paid meters.
- Ensuring Universal Credit claimants have made a claim for Council Tax Support (if they have a Council Tax liability) and if not then the relevant application form is given.
While Universal Credit was meant to make claiming benefits simpler, the reality is that the introduction of this new benefit has caused extreme hardship for many people in vulnerable situations.
I urge anyone who is concerned about Universal Credit to seek help through Armley One Stop Centre who are doing an excellent job supporting local people with this transition.
If you have any questions or concerns about the introduction of Universal Credit, please contact Councillor Alice Smart on firstname.lastname@example.org or drop into Armley One Stop Centre.