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Thread: I've just claimed UC!

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I've just claimed UC!

    Well I had nothing else to do on a wet Sunday afternoon.

    Joking aside I decided that the time was right for me, and so this afternoon I completed an online claim for UC.
    It's something I had been considering for a while.

    It may not be for you, check and take advice before doing it yourself.
    If you have the Severe Disability Premium with any benefit then don't even consider claiming UC yourself (unless you have to) - you WILL lose money.

    It wasn't that difficult and took about 45 minutes overall.

    About 15 minutes of that was me failing the online verification.
    I knew it would fail, no passport or driving licence, and I could have just skipped it to save time but I wanted to see what it entailed.
    They tried Government Gateway first (I thought that was obsolete now?) and then GOV.Verify but i didn't even create an account for that.
    All that means is that ID verification will have to be done another way, probably a visit to the jobcentre.

    It did ask about benefits in the 'Income' section but didn't go into any details of what benefits were currently being claimed.
    Presumably they will get to that later, or just check their records.

    Although asking about Housing Costs (rent) it didn't ask if I was currently claiming HB.
    Presumably they will check all that with the HA and the council.

    So overall pretty painless up to now, let's see what happens next.

    I'll probably write more later about just why I chose to change to UC now, but right now I'm off to the pub for a bit of socialising.
    Last edited by nukecad; 22-11-21 at 13:32.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  2. #2
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    Well Nuke, if there is anyone that knows what's right for them benefit wise it's you

    Thanks for putting the detail about verification because I'm the same as you no passport or driving licence so I'm watching to see what happens with that bit next.

    Hope you have a lovely evening in the pub

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Only a hour or two in the pub, finances don't stretch much.

    Claiming UC and 'migrating' yourself used to be a big no-no, and could go really pear shaped.
    You may remember we saw that happen with a member here some years ago.

    But things UC have changed, as they do, and there are reasons for carefully considering it now.

    Of course there is still the worry of if the DWP can get it right and do things as they should do.

    There is only one way to find that out and you can be sure I'll be updating this.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  4. #4
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    Good luck with the transition, hope it all goes smootly for you Nukecad.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    I said above that I'd write more about why I have chosen to move myself to UC at this time, when I dont have to, so here it is.

    As you probably know I moved flat back in June but because it was the same Local Authority I didn't have to claim UC at that time.
    Despite expecting that I might have a problem my council knew the rules without prompting and just did a change of circumstances to my HB as they should.

    But the move did get me thinking about changing to UC, and now 5-1/2 months on I decided to go for it.

    For one thing the bills have become a bit awkward to manage with utilities wanting monthly direct debits, which as you all know don't fit in with a 2 week benefit cycle.
    Getting UC monthly will solve that issue.
    (Oddly my new Housing Association had no problem setting up a 2 weekly DD for a charge, but it seems the utility companies are unwilling to do any other than monthly).

    My tenancy agreement states that rent should be paid weekly in advance, of course HB pays them every 28-days in arrears.
    I've been playing catch up with that to get it into advance, which is what that 2 weekly DD is for, and the 2 week run-on of Housing Benefit will help with that.

    In case you didn't know for the 2 weeks after you claim UC Housing Benefit (and IR-ESA/IB-JSA/IS) is still paid and is not deducted from UC, this effectively gives you double benefits for those 2 weeks.
    It's meant to help tide you over until your first UC payment, and make sure that you don't get too far into rent arrears.
    In my case I am already technically in arrears so the extra 2 weeks will help catch that up.
    I'm not sure yet whether to the pay the rent myself or set up direct payments from UC. UC obviously prefer to pay you and you pay the rent yourself.
    I'll talk to my HA about that later.

    There is also the possibility of getting a UC advance, which of course has to be paid back over time. You get up to 2 years to pay it back now.
    You can take up to a full months UC, including housing costs, and it's paid back at up to 25% of your Standard Allowance. So the more you take the longer it will take to pay back.
    (eg. If you take an advance of only the Standard Allowance, and have no other deductions, then it should be paid back in 4 months).
    I've not decided on that yet, but probably will take some to get the rent account fully in advance, and maybe pay off what's outstanding on the other bills. And of course the WHD is going to help with the electricity bill when it comes through.

    Financially:
    My IR-ESA WRAG should carry over to UC-LCW (reg.19 of the Transitional Regulations 2013) and should be paid as such because my initial claim was before April 2017.
    As I am now in Social Housing the UC Housing Element will pay full rent including the small service charge.

    I don't get any premiums with my ESA so that isn't an issue.
    Don't even consider claiming UC yourself (unless you have to) if you have the Severe Disability Premium with any benefit - you WILL lose money.
    For anyone else then if you are considering it check and double check, make sure that you are considering everything and not just the benefits that will be migrated. (eg. Council Tax, see below).

    So I'll get the same as with IR-ESA/HB but paid monthly instead of fortnightly. In fact I'll get 8 pence a month more.

    One concern was Council Tax, having IR-ESA automatically 'passports' you to full Council Tax Relief, but for UC it has to be calculated for each person.
    The calculation can be a bit tricky and different councils have different rules so you need to check this.
    We have seen members here who have been migrated and found that they then had to pay some CT because they were no longer passported.
    In my particular case both my own calculation and the Entitledto calculator say I will still have no CT to pay.

    Finally there is another advantage, one that should also happen if you wait for Managed Migration to happen.
    Unlike someone who is claiming UC because of a change of circumstances, house move, lost their job, etc., you get to choose the date you make your claim and so the date on which you will get paid each month. (7 days after the end of your UC monthly period).
    I chose the 14th to claim UC so that I'll get paid on the 20th of each month.
    (PS. I wouldn't claim after the 23rd of any month, that could mean your payment date would vary depending on the length of each month, I'm not entirely sure how UC handle that maybe they vary the 7 days so that you always get paid on the same date, unless that's the 31st of course or 29th/30th in February).

    Just a couple of examples of other things I considered:
    I have a Warm Home Discount application currently being processed, moving to UC shouldn't affect that but .....
    If (big if) the £20 uplift JR is won and it is backpaid to legacy benefts what then? I suspect that I would still get it but some of it would be used to pay off any UC Advance. (Which would be fair enough I suppose).

    I'll probably write some more of this stuff, and what you should consider if thinking about choosing to move yourself, in an advice post for the Migration thread later.
    As the government have started 'encouraging' people to 'consider' moving themselves to UC then it will probably be handy to have it in one place.

    For now I have a UC journal (so can finally see properly what that's all about) with all the to-do's completed and am waiting for them to ring me to arrange an ID appointment.
    Last edited by nukecad; 22-11-21 at 13:29.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    And now the fun starts.

    Today on the UC 'To Do List' is an appointment for an ID verification meeting at the jobcentre on Monday.

    It includes:
    What you need to bring

    All documents must be originals - copies will not be accepted.

    Proof of your identity

    Bring 1 of the following:
    Valid passport
    Recently expired passport
    Home Office issued travel document
    Full UK photo driving licence
    National identity card not issued by the UK ID card scheme
    Residence permit or card
    Immigration status document
    Registration or naturalisation certificate
    Young Scot card (with PASS hologram)
    Citizen card
    Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card

    Bring 2 of the following:
    Nope, I haven't go a single one of those.

    Edit: Just noticed the name of the person I'm going to see; I think it's my old ESA work coach from several years back who moved to doing UC. Nice lass, I always got on with her.
    Last edited by nukecad; 19-11-21 at 16:35.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  7. #7
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    Same here Nuke, I don't have any of those either.

    Pleased you will know who you are going to see & that she will know you so that should make things a little easier hopefully

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Yes, hopefully it is the same person, they only give first names for 'security'.

    PS.
    Despite all week my 'To do' saying "We will ring you" that never happened.
    They made the appointment on the 'To do' instead .
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    My ID for Universal Credit is now verified.

    It was painless and took all of 5 mins once I got sat at the desk.
    Appointment 11:35, called at 11:40, done, out, and 200m across the carparks to just catch the 11:52 bus home.

    The lack of Passport or Driving licence was no problem at all.

    She said she couldn't accept the ENCTS bus pass as photo ID, (but see below *), and then proceded to enter the details from it onto her computer anyway.

    Apart from that my bank card (Visa debit card) and a letter from the Council Tax were all the proof she needed to see.
    But you should still take more just in case, basically everything that you easilly can, I did.

    Moving on to the next steps:

    I now have another Jobcentre appointment next Tuesday. That will be to do a Claimant Commitment, etc.
    In the case of someone migrating from ESA they already have the info they need, but the law says that they have to go through the CC with you. No doubt with the usual pile of information bumf and 'motivational' speech.
    For that appointment they they will want to see 2 forms of ID (they want ID at every UC jobcentre appointment nowadays), she said that my *ENCTS bus pass and bank card will be fine for that.
    I seem to recall that I just showed them the bus pass and their own appointment letter for my previous ESA WFI's, but of course with UC there is no appointment letter it's on your journal.

    Having had my ID verified I can now also apply for an Advance payment if I want one, I probably will to get the utility bills cleared to date (and a bit extra for Christmas won't go astray).

    I've already sorted out my rent payments with the Housing Association.
    New monthly direct debit amount for the rent, plus a bit extra to get the rent 5 weeks into advance over the next 16 months.
    (That's because the rent should be paid weekly in advance, but UC pays monthly in arrears. So technicaly you start each month clear, build up 4/5 weeks arrears, pay it off and start building arrears again. So your account is always in arrears).

    As I mentioned above I still have 2 weeks (plus 1 or 2 days) of ESA to come, normal day would be next Friday but as it's an end of claim I'm not sure just when that will go into the bank.

    I'll let you know what happens next Tuesday.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    To see how it worked online I've applied for an Advance. (Go on then, I wanted the money).

    The first thing of note is that the amount offered was exactly what I had calculated for my UC including the LCW element and Housing Element.
    That's the first indication I have that have accepted that my LCW (WRAG) has been carried straight over from ESA, and will be paid in UC as well.

    There were no questions about why you want/need the money, just 'how much do you want to take'.
    I believe that 'no questions asked' was brought in for covid and hasn't been changed back yet.

    I could pick just how much I wanted up to that figure, and then it gave me a choice of how long I wanted to pay it back over, various choices from 3 to 24 months.
    It gives how much the repayment would be for each option so you can see how much each will reduce your UC and pick which one suits you.

    I chose to take just the Standard Allowance and LCW Element, that's £453.73 so I rounded it down to £450, and to pay it back over 24 months at £18.75 a month.

    The second thing of note was the speed of the decision.
    After making my choice I clicked the 'Apply' button, went back to my journal page and there was already a message that it had been accepted and £450 would be paid into my bank 2 days from now.
    Again I think that instant acceptance may have been brought in during covid, if they are not checking why you want it then there is no reson for any delay.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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