Universal credit – what we know, and what we don’t
What we know
Universal credit will be implemented from October 2013 for new unemployed claimants, and for people in work, new claimants from April 2014.
It will eventually replace, Housing benefit, Working tax credit, Child Tax credit, Income based job seekers allowance, Income Support, Income based Employment and support allowance.
It will not be until the end of 2017 that all existing benefit claimants will be transferred.
It should be much easier to make changes to your claim when your circumstances change.
It should reduce the complexity involved when a claimant has to move between local authority areas.
Most people will be able to apply online.
Council tax benefit is being abolished, and replaced, as will some other benefits.
What we don’t know
There is currently no information publically available, to show how that phasing will work for existing benefit claimants, or when they are likely to be phased, only that it will start in April 2014.
We do not know who will not be able to apply online.
It is not known how the system will work for the self-employed, or director employees of small businesses or those with a mix of employment and self-employment. We will assess this very carefully for clients accessing the benefit system. As part of Good Start Consultancy range of client service, it is very important we know what is happening, how we can help, and if the new system is beneficial to you, how we can help get you transferred.
It is not known if the system will be marginally more generous than the outgoing system. One of the basic intentions of the new system is that people should be better off in work, than out of work, so on the balance of probabilities, the new system will probably more generous. There is also a transitional fund, so if existing payments are more than new system allows, the transitional fund would help make up the difference.
One of the key issues with any benefit system, for the more complex cases, which you as a client, probably are, is that your changing and variable income will need to be reported via the online system. Both you, and the benefit system will need protecting.
So, what can we say, as an overview at this time
We have seen nothing to suggest at this time, that individuals should be concerned by proposed changes. If anything, it will be helpful to you, and helpful to us, in helping you.
What will Good Start Consultancy offer you
We will provide a service tailored to the client, dependent on the new system and any new rules, and continue to support as we do now, clients in the existing system.
We will work out if you are better off in the new system, or old, and if possible make sure you are in the one most beneficial to your circumstances.
We will offer the accountancy / agency relationship, which will enable us to make the required returns for you, if we are empowered to do so.
The basis of service will still be translation, but our knowledge of the system, when implemented will be where we add real value to clients.
We will update this page, as and when new and significant information becomes available.