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We’re here to help you with Universal Credit

20 May 2019

Did you know you can have your rent paid directly to us from your Universal Credit payment?

Going from housing benefit to Universal Credit can be a stressful time, but we’re here to help.  Our experienced Income Officers have a wealth of knowledge and have completed several training courses on Universal Credit.  They have up to date information that can help you if you’re on Universal Credit.

Paying your rent from Universal Credit payments

When you complete your Universal Credit claim, your local job centre will ask you if you want your rent to be paid direct to you or to us (your landlord).  This is entirely your decision but by choosing to have your rent paid directly to us, you’ll be reducing the pressure on yourself and you’ll be secure in knowing your rent has been paid.  We’ll always help whether you choose to pay your own rent or choose to have the rent paid directly to us.

If you’ve been claiming Housing Benefit and move to Universal Credit, you’ll continue to receive Housing Benefit for two weeks after you claim Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is paid once a month and this extra two weeks of Housing Benefit is to help you with your housing costs while you wait for your first payment.  The extra two weeks of Housing Benefit will not affect how much Universal Credit you get and will automatically be paid by Housing Benefit.

What happens if I want an advance on my first Universal Credit payment?

If you don’t have enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment you may be able to get an advance on your first Universal Credit payment.  Please speak with your local job centre or contact Universal Credit on their dedicated helpline - 0800 328 5644.

What happens if I choose to have my rent payments made to Network Homes?

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) will ask us to verify your tenancy and your rent details.  We aim to complete this verification within 72 hours as this allows the Department of Work and Pensions to assess your claim and arrange your first payment.  It can take six to seven weeks for you to receive your first payment.

Once we have verified the rent we like to speak with you.  The purpose of the conversation is to find out:

  • about you
  • about any support needs you may have
  • about any debts you may have
  • whether you want us to help you look for work
  • details of your household and household income. 

We’ll also speak with you about the importance of continuing to pay your rent, after all it is your responsibility to pay your rent.

What if I have problems paying my rent?

If you’re struggling to pay your rent while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment we would ask you keep your income officer informed and agree a payment plan with them.  If you don’t pay your rent we may start our arrears process but are always keen to work with you first.  We appreciate waiting for your first payment is a difficult time.

If you choose to pay your rent yourself out of the Universal Credits payment you receive, it’s important you remember to pay your rent when you begin receiving payments.  The easiest way to pay your rent is by Direct Debit.  Maybe set up a Direct Debit so as soon as the rent payment goes into your account payment for your rent is automatically made without you having to think about it.  That way you have peace of mind and won’t fall into arrears.  If you don’t pay your rent we will begin our arrears process with you, which may put your home at risk.  We may ask the DWP to pay us the rent.

Our Income Teams are ready, willing and able to help you, so go one give us a call on 0300 373 3000 or email them at customerservice@networkhomes.org.uk.

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