Where can I locally use a computer or access the internet for free
We have free Wi-Fi access and free to use computers at our Cornerstone Head Office reception, with trained staff available to help you make your claim.
You can attend Stockport Job Centre and use the computers there to make your online claim.
You can also access computers free of charge at a range of community venues across Stockport such as libraries and community centre buildings. A full list of all free Wi-Fi and computer access points across Stockport click here.
Is help available to improve my computer skills and help me make my claim
As well as free WiFi and access to computers we can provide support on gaining the skills necessary to maintain your online claim. Contact us on 0161 217 6016 and we can refer you to a digital support session near to where you live.
From 21st November 2018 daily ‘UC Drop In’ sessions will be held at our Cornerstone office reception.
Do I need to have a bank account for my Universal Credit payments
At the moment Universal Credit can still be paid into a Post Office account (current account or Post Office Card Account) as well as bank accounts, most building society accounts and credit union accounts.
If you only have a Post Office Card Account, your Work Coach at the Jobcentre may encourage you to open a bank account or credit union account which will allows you to both make and receive automated payments.
If you don’t have access to a standard bank account, a fee-free basic bank account can make it much easier to manage your money. These accounts don’t have an overdraft facility, so you won’t be able to get into debt by spending more than you have.
For more information on basic bank accounts try looking at Money Saving Expert and Money Advice Service.
Where can I find help with the online Universal Credit application form
You can make an appointment to see one of our Universal Credit Officers and they will help you complete the form.
We can talk you through the form over the telephone, please call 0161 217 6016 (option 3).
Call in to our Cornerstone reception with all the relevant information and we will help you complete the online form.
If you struggle to get out of your home, one of our officers will come and visit you and help you complete the form.
What information do I need to have ready before filling in the online claim form
- Your (and any partner’s) national insurance number(s)
- Your address and postcode
- Type of accommodation and your landlord’s name and address
- Your rent (not counting any service charges you have to pay separately - ask us for a breakdown if you are not sure)
- Details about your income, such as earnings, self-employment, other benefits you claim and any other income
- Details of your savings and investments
- Details of everyone who lives with you - their name, date of birth and income
- Child Benefit reference numbers
- Childcare costs – how much and who your provider is
- Bank account details including account number and sort code
- A valid email address
- Your land line/mobile phone number if you have one
- Proof of identity – passport, driving licence, debit or credit card
IMPORTANT: The online claim form asks “Do you pay rent?” This means “Are you liable to pay rent?” - the answer will always be YES if you or your partner have a tenancy with Stockport Homes, even if you’ve not actually been paying rent because you’ve been getting Housing Benefit to pay it.
IMPORTANT: The online claim form asks how much rent you pay. This is the full “eligible rent” (excluding water and heating charges) – not the shortfall you’ve been paying if you’ve been getting part Housing Benefit. Contact us if you’re not sure what this amount is. If you enter the incorrect rent amount it may delay your housing cost payments.
You can find a Universal Credit Checklist here.
How do I verify my identity when claiming online
Part of the claiming process includes verifying your identity online using the government’s 'Verify' service.
You can use a:
• Driving licence
• Bank or credit card
If your identity cannot be verified using the government’s 'Verify' service, you will need to phone 0800 328 5644 to book an appointment for a ‘verification interview’ at your Job Centre (this is different to the ‘new claim interview’). You must bring all the evidence and documents you have been asked to provide to this interview.
IMPORTANT: If you do not book or attend the verification interview appointment when required, your claim may be cancelled.
What happens after I claim online
When you fill in your online claim you will also need to book an appointment via your online account for a ‘new claim interview’ at your local Job Centre. If you have problems doing this ring 0800 328 5644 immediately. You must go to this appointment – if you definitely can’t, you must ring 0800 328 5644 (or any other number you are given) and arrange another date.
IMPORTANT: If you do not book or attend the new claim interview appointment when required, your claim may be cancelled.
What happens at the new claim interview
At this interview you must bring all the evidence and documents you have been asked to provide. If you can’t, you must let the Job Centre know why.
At the appointment you (and your partner) will be expected to sign a claimant commitment, setting out what you agree to do in order to receive the benefit. This could range from searching for work full-time, to nothing, depending on your circumstances.
It is important you are clear to the Work Coach about your abilities and responsibilities so you are not set unrealistic expectations. If you do not meet the expectations placed upon you, your Universal Credit payments could be reduced or stopped.
IMPORTANT: If you (and your partner if you have one) don’t sign the Claimant Commitment/s, you won’t get any Universal Credit.
IMPORTANT: If for any reason you find you can’t do something that is on the Commitment (for example you are late for a Job Centre interview or you have been too unwell to go to an interview, or you have to look after a sick child) you MUST tell the Job Centre immediately - and keep a record. Otherwise you could have some of your Universal Credit sanctioned (not paid) – and this could last for anything between a month and three years.
IMPORTANT: If you are told your benefit is going to be sanctioned and you think this is wrong or unjust you can ask the Job Centre to reconsider their decision - and if they refuse, you can appeal. Contact us for advice, we can help you do this.
Can Stockport Homes speak to the Universal Credit service or Department of Work and Pensions on my behalf
The Universal Credit service doesn’t tell Stockport Homes what the issues are with their payments. This is due to keeping personal information confidential. You can give the Universal Credit service authority to speak to us but you have to be present at all times.
Stockport Homes is only contacted by the Universal Credit service when someone starts claiming Universal Credit. Stockport Homes is contacted to verify identity, if it is a single/joint claim, address, rent amount, number of rooms and service charges.
Can I ask the Department of Work and Pensions to pay my rent directly from my Universal Credit
Your claim for Universal Credit will include help with your rent – called a housing costs element. The whole of your Universal Credit award will be paid to you and it will be your responsibility to budget and pay your rent from your Universal Credit and any other income you may have.
There is a system, however, called ‘managed payments’ (or ‘APAs’) where the housing costs element included in your Universal Credit assessment can be paid directly to Stockport Homes in limited circumstances.
You can ask the Job Centre to set you up on ‘managed payments’ if you believe you would struggle to pay the rent yourself because of your circumstances. You will need to explain what problems you have that makes it difficult for you to cope with paying the rent yourself. If you would like the DWP to consider this, you can ask your Job Centre work coach at your first appointment after your claim for Universal Credit, or at any time after this.
You can ring 0800 328 5644 to make an appointment at the Job Centre or you can make the request via your online account.
Note that you do not have a right to a ‘managed payment’ – it is up to the DWP to decide if you need this help, and it will usually only be for a fixed period of time.
But remember this won’t necessarily cover all your rent so make sure you continue to pay any difference, for example due to the Bedroom Tax, or a deduction taken off for a non-dependent living with you, etc.
‘Managed payments’ can also be requested by your landlord where your rent account goes into arrears and you owe at least two months’ rent.
Can Stockport Homes apply for my rent to be paid to them instead of me
The Rent Collection team can apply for an Alternative Payment Arrangement so that the DWP pay the housing costs part of your Universal Credit to Stockport Homes directly, rather than it being paid to you.
Stockport Homes can only apply for this when someone has been in arrears for eight weeks.
The Rent Collection team can’t apply for an APA if someone has been sanctioned, or not done something they should have on their claim.
What should I do if my Universal Credit payment is not as much as I expected
You should get help as soon as possible. Either contact the DWP and let us know what is happening or contact us so that we can check your claim with you and contact the DWP on your behalf if something is wrong.
What happens to my Child Benefit when I move onto Universal Credit
The only benefits Universal Credit is replacing are Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credit, and Working Tax Credit.
Any other benefits you may be entitled to will continue to be paid to you in addition to any Universal Credit payment. This includes Child Benefit and also: Bereavement Allowance, Carers Allowance, Contributory Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Maternity Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and so on.
Is Council Tax Support included in my Universal Credit claim
No, you need to remember to claim Council Tax Support from Stockport Council as it isn’t included in the Universal Credit claim.
How do I receive an advance payment of Universal Credit
Universal Credit does offer up to a month's advance payment for new claimants. However this is a loan with repayments deducted from your next 12 months payments. You will need to ask the Job Centre or the Universal Credit service if you need this.
Is it possible to get Universal Credit paid fortnightly rather than monthly
It is possible to arrange for the personal part of Universal Credit to be paid fortnightly – Jobseekers Allowance, tax credits, Employment Support Allowance. However the housing costs part won’t be paid fortnightly. You will need to speak to the Universal Credit service about this.
Will other organisations be able to take money out of my benefit
Universal Credit allow some companies to take out money which you owe to them directly from your Universal Credit, however the maximum they can deduct is 40% of your total personal element.
If this is causing you problems with your rent payments, you need to speak to your Rent Officer or the Money Advice Team so they can help and advise you. Call our team today on 0161 217 6016 (Option 3).
How do I find out which benefits I am entitled to and how to apply for them
Stockport Homes has a dedicated expert Money Advice team that can help with any questions you have about what benefits you are entitled to, dealing with your bills, budgeting, help with filling in forms and so on. Ring our Money Advice Team on 0161 217 6016 (Option 3) to talk to one of our advisors.
Got any questions or worries about Universal Credit? We are here to help!
Call our team today on 0161 217 6016 (Option 3)