7 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Universal Credit
Updated: May 13, 2019
Through our analysis, we’ve put together a list of the seven most common question about Universal Credit, and their answers. We’ve used this information to train our chatbots so that they are able to better help customers and provide meaningful responses.
1. What is Universal Credit (UC)?
Universal Credit is a single monthly payment. It allows people to have access to all of their different benefits through a single claim and a single payment made once a month, rather than having to deal with multiple claims and payments like in the past.
It replaces several benefits including income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, and Child Tax Credit.
The system is designed to work in a way similar to how people who work normal jobs are paid, which is generally monthly.
People that aren’t used to dealing with monthly payments and managing their money on a monthly basis can get support in proper budgeting if they need it.
2. Can I Claim UC While Working?
You are able to work while claiming Universal Credit. You could still receive benefit payments while working or as your income increases. Just keep in mind that your payments will go down as your earnings increase.
3. Is There a Restriction on how Many Hours I can Work while Claiming UC?
The good thing about UC is that there aren’t any restrictions on how much you can work when claiming Universal Credit. It is linked not to how much you work, but how much you make rom work. You could still work a full sixteen hours and claim universal credit, which wasn’t possible with other benefits systems. Once again though, payments from UC will decrease as pay from work increases.
"we've trained our chatbots so that they are able to better help customers and provide meaningful responses"
4. Is it Possible to Get an Advance if I’m Struggling before Getting my First Payment, and, if so, How Much can I Get?
If you aren’t able to get by until you get your first payment, then you may be eligible to receive a Universal Credit advance. You may be able to borrow up to the full amount of the first estimated monthly payment if you need it. The advance can be paid off a little at a time over the next 12 months using money from future Universal Credit payments.
5. How Can an Online Account Improve Things?
Having an online account gives you a greater level of access to your claim. It gives claimants more control by allowing them to report changes as and when they happen through an online account. An online account also offers faster and more regular access to their case manager and work coach if something comes up. These are things that would have otherwise required a trip to the jobcentre.
6. How Does the Universal Credit System Make it Easier to Find Work?
The idea of Universal Credit is that it makes it worthwhile to get temporary or part time employment. The payments you get adjust automatically when you start working, meaning that if you lose your job or your wages are cut, your UC payments increase. It helps open the door on a number of temporary and part-time job opportunities.
One of the best features of Universal Credit is that it gives job seekers access to a work coach. These dedicated coaches help claimants by offering them work-related support such as help writing a CV, applying for jobs, and receiving training and job opportunities.
Universal Credit eliminates the “cliff edges” of the past where people could have their benefits suddenly cut off. That means that people are able to earn more and work longer hours until they reach a point they can comfortably live without Universal Credit.
7. I’m a Working Parent – Does UC Help with Childcare Costs?
It’s hard to juggle work with raising a family. If you’re a working parent claiming Universal Credit, you’re eligible to claim up to 85% of your childcare costs back, provided that the childcare provider is approved or registered. It doesn’t even matter how many hours you work either. If you accept a job, then you can still claim back the childcare costs for the month before beginning work.
To see a demo of our general enquiries chatbot and how it responds to UC, benefits and other questions your tenants may have, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.