Universal Credit: what is it and who can apply for it?

Universal Credit application

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is a government grant that helps you pay for the costs of everyday life and it is usually paid monthly.

You may be able to get it if you have a low income, if you are not working or if you cannot work for several reasons.

Universal Credit includes the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

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Requirements

You could get Universal Credit if:

  • You have a low income or are jobless.
  • You are at least 18 years old and studying.
  • You are at least 18 years old and do not have family support.
  • You are of state retirement age (or your partner is).
  • Your family’s savings are no more than £ 16,000.
  • You reside in the UK.

The number of children can affect the amount of the benefit.

If you live with your partner

Your partner’s income and savings will accumulate towards Universal Credit.

If you are at least 18 years old and are studying full time

You can re-apply for Universal Credit if any of the following are true:

  • Your partner (who lives with you) is eligible for Universal Credit.
  • You have a dependent child.
  • You have a disability that limits your ability to work.
  • You do not have the support of your parents and you are not under the care of the authorities.

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If you are studying full time

You can also apply for Universal Credit if you are attending full-time postgraduate courses and:

  • You don’t have parental support.
  • You have limited work capacity and are eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
  • You are in charge of a child.
  • You are a couple with child responsibility and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit.

Additional benefits

Your Universal Credit consists of a standard allowance and any additional amounts depending on:

  • Presence of dependent children.
  • Having a health condition that prevents you from working.
  • Difficulty paying the rent.

The standard amount varies according to income. See the reference tables.

Standard

  • YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES
  • Single and under 25 years old
  • Single and over 25 years old
  • As a couple and both of you are under 25 years old
  • As a couple and both of you are over 25 years old
  • STANDARD MONTHLY PAYMENT
  • £ 342.72
  • £ 409.89
  • £ 488.59 (for both)
  • £ 594.04 (for both)

If you have children

If you have 1 or 2 children, you will get an additional amount for each child.

If you have 3 or more children, you will get an additional amount for at least 2 children. You can get an additional amount for more children if the following conditions are met:

  • Your children were born before April 6, 2017.
  • You applied for 3 or more children before April 6, 2017.
  • However, there are always other exceptions.
  • HOW MUCH YOU COULD RECEIVE
  • For the first child
  • For the second child or any other children
  • If your child is disabled
  • If you need help with childcare
  • EXTRA MONTHLY PAYMENT
  • £ 281.25 (born before April 6, 2017) £ 235.83 (born after April 6, 2017)
  • £ 235.83 for each child
  • £ 128.25 or £ 400.29
  • up to 85% of all costs (up to £ 646.35 for one child and £ 1,108.04 for two or more children)

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Accommodation costs

You could get money to help pay for housing costs. How much you get depends on your age and circumstances.

The payment may cover the rent and some service charges.

The value of Universal Credit is relative to your income

If your income increases while receiving Universal Credit, the value of the subsidy will decrease by 63 p for each additional euro earned.

Stretta di mano e valigia piena di soldi

How do you receive the payment

The Universal Credit is credited to your bank account once a month.

The credit may include the amount for the accommodation to be paid to the landlord.

If you don’t have a checking account and are having difficulty opening it, call the Universal Credit helpline and provide an alternative payment method.

Your first payment

It usually takes about 5 weeks to get your first payment.

The wait before the first credit is due to an evaluation period of your position.

If you need help with your living expenses while waiting for your first benefit, you can apply for an advance payment.

Dates of payments

With reference to the date of the first payment, the following will be monthly payment after 30 days.
If the next payment date falls on a public holiday, you will receive the benefit the business day prior to the due date.

What is needed to submit the application

You will need:

  • Your checking account details.
  • Email address.
  • Information about your accommodation, for example the rent cost.
  • Details of your income, for example pay slips.
  • Details on savings and any investments, eg. shares or rental properties.
  • Details of how much you pay for the care of your children.

Report a change in circumstances

In order to continue receiving Universal Credit, you must provide – through the journal of your Universal Credit account – any changes of circumstances.

The Universal Credit payment may be stopped or reduced if you do not immediately signal a change in circumstances.

Changes may include:

  • You have found a job or you have stopped working
  • You had a son
  • You moved in with your partner
  • You take care of a child or a disabled person
  • You changed your residence
  • You changed your bank details
  • The cost of your rent has changed
  • There have been changes in your health condition
  • Your illness has worsened and you can no longer work
  • Your monthly salary has changed

Contacts

You can contact the Universal Credit switchboard on 0800 328 5644.

What is the National Insurance Number (NIN) and how to get it?

National Insurance Number

NIN – National Insurance Number

One of the things to prioritize when you arrive in the UK is to book an appointment to get the National Insurance Number (NIN). The NIN is a personal identification number which is assigned by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) to manage your National Insurance contributions and taxes.

The NIN is made up of letters and numbers and never changes. In addition, the National Insurance Number does not have an expiry date.

You can find your NIN number:

  • In the payslips;
  • In your P60;
  • In letters related to your taxes, pension or allowances;
  • In the National Insurance section of your Personal Tax Account (PTA).

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Who needs the National Insurance Number?

– The employee (employed);
– The Self-employed;
– The trainee or student who wants to pay the contributions of their job;
– The student who wants to apply for a loan to study;
Anyone who wants to apply for state benefits.

If you plan to work in the UK, you need the National Insurance Number as it is mandatory to work legally, in fact many companies ask for it even before examining you, together with the Curriculum Vitae.

Please note: To prevent identity fraud, keep your NIN number secure.

Who could ask for your National Insurance Number?

These organizations need to know what your NIN number is:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC);
  • Your employer;
  • The DWP – Department for Work and Pensions;
  • Your local council (municipality of residence), if you request housing subsidies;
  • Electoral Registration Officer (to verify your identity when you register to vote);
  • The Student Loan Company, if you apply for a student loan;
  • Authorized financial service providers who help you buy and sell investments such as stocks, bonds and derivatives: you can check whether your supplier is authorized.

APPLY FOR THE NIN NOW

You can apply for the National Insurance Number only from British soil. It is one of the first things to do as soon as you arrive in the UK if you are planning to work or apply for a student loan.

You can request the National Insurance Number by calling the Jobcentre on the phone.

BOOKING PHONE NUMBER 0800 141 2075 (only from UK)
NIN NOT RECEIVED PHONE NUMBER  0800 141 2079 (only from UK)
HMRC PHONE NUMBER NIN CHANGE OF DETAILS +44 0300 200 3300
HMRC WEBSITE NIN CHANGE OF DETAILS https://www.gov.uk/tell-hmrc-change-of-details

How to book the National Insurance Number appointment through Jobcenters

To make an appointment for the NIN you must call 0800 141 2075. In fact, it is not possible to make a reservation either online or by going directly to the Jobcentre.

Don’t worry if you are not an expert in English: the operators will guide you in kind and friendly way. Alternatively, you can request us to book an appointment for you.

You can call 0800 141 2075 only and exclusively from the United Kingdom. A virtual voice will invite you to select a key according to whether you want to book an appointment or to update the details of an appointment already booked.

During the interview, you will be asked why you need the NIN. You will also be told how long it will take to get the National Insurance Number.

Details requested:

  • First name
  • Surname
  • Date of birth
  • UK residential address
  • Arrival day in the UK
  • Nationality. You will be asked if you have one or more nationalities
  • English telephone number (get it here)

The operator will give you a reference number, the date of the appointment and the address of the Jobcenter to go to obtain the NIN. Finally, he will summarize the documents to bring and confirm that everything is clear. If you are not absolutely sure that you understand everything, do not hesitate to mention it.

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What to bring to the appointment:

  • Proof of address. It could be the employment contract, the house contract or a utility bill on your behalf. In case you don’t have a job yet and live in a friend’s house – consequently you don’t have a rental contract – you can ask them for a declaration of your domicile at their house which you can print directly from here.
  • The reference number that was given to you over the phone.
  • An identity document: passport or national identity document.
  • Adoption or birth certificate (if you are not a European citizen).
  • If you don’t have a job yet, bring with you search tests, for example emails sent to classifieds sites (eg Gumtree). This will help you prove that you are actually looking for a job.

Please note: if you are a student or work as a nanny, there is a high probability that your application for NIN will be rejected. This is because you do not have a paid job, therefore you would not need a NIN.

Within 3/5 working days you will receive a confirmation letter from the Jobcentre at your home indicating the time and date of the appointment. This letter is NOT to be considered as a proof of address.

In case you don’t receive the letter before the day of the appointment, don’t worry, you go to the Jobcentre anyway.

Please note: It may happen that during the phone call the operator of the Jobcenter does not correctly write your name or your date of birth or other details. Do not worry because you can correct all the details during the interview.

The interview

Get to the Jobcentre at least 15 minutes before the appointment. Get organized early, consider any delays due to traffic or the subway, if you arrive late you may not accepted. Once at the Jobcentre, show your reference number and you will be given more instructions.

They will ask you the same questions they asked you over the phone, plus other questions about your job, in case you are already working. They will make a copy of your document and in less than half an hour you will finally be out of the Jobcenter.

Please note: If you think your English is insufficient and you cannot understand the operator well, you can request to be assigned an interpreter. The service is offered free of charge by the Jobcentre.

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Timing to obtain the NIN

From the day of the call to the Jobcentre to the day of the appointment, the waiting time can vary from 1 to 30 days. In some cases, during the busiest periods, the wait can reach 45 days. From the day of the appointment at the Job Center to the actual reception of the NIN at your home, it takes between 4 and 6 weeks. We can therefore say that to get the NIN from the day of the first call, it can take about 75 days.

During this period you can start working and, if you have already started your work experience, inform your employer about the date of your appointment. Once you receive the NIN, notify your employer of your number. You don’t need to give them the original copy, you can make a photocopy or simply give them the number. The NIN identifies your person. Remember that there is no longer a temporary NIN as happened over 10 years ago.

I have lost the NIN, how can I recover it?

There are several ways to recover the NIN in case you no longer remember it or have lost it. It often happens that you decide to leave the United Kingdom and return after several years without remembering what your NIN is. Remember that the NIN has no expiration date and it will never change.

How can I recover the National Insurance Number? Here’s how to do it.

  • You can find the NIN in your payslip. It is always made of 2 initial letters, a series of 6 numbers and a final letter – Example NIN SP123456A.
  • Register your personal account at gov.uk and go to the “income” section. In this section you can access your NIN and print a copy. You can also update your NIN data (for example if you changed your address). Generally you don’t need to change the address of the NIN because the address is updated by your employer.
  • Talk to an operator through the NIN live chat: in order to identify you, you will be asked a few questions related to your person, your address and, if your details match those they have, they will help you to recover the NIN.
  • For more information and other methods to recover your NIN visit the official website.

What is pre-Settled Status and Settled status?

What are pre-settled status and settled status?

Recently, more and more frequently, we read in the newspapers information on Brexit and new rules that will come into force from March 2019 and that will concern all citizens of the European Union.

In fact, in order to be able to live in the UK after December 2020, every European citizen must have applied for temporary residence or permanent residence called as pre-settled status and settled status. More information can be found here.

When can you register your application?

You can apply from March 2019 and the deadline is 30 June 2021. However, you can also apply after June 2021 if you are joining your family in the United Kingdom.

APPLY HERE FOR PRE-SETTLED STATUS

How much does it cost to register for pre-settled and settled status?

  • £ 65 for those over 16 years of age;
  • £ 32.50 for children under 16 years of age.

Please note: from 30 March 2019 requesting the Settled Status no longer has any cost. If you paid previously, you can request a full refund.

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What is meant by permanent residence and temporary residence?

Getting temporary or permanent residency means that you can live in the UK even after December 31, 2020.

What happens if I get permanent residence?

  • You can definitely stay in the UK;
  • You can apply for British citizenship;
  • You could stay out of the UK for 5 years without losing permanent residence.

Also, if you have children in the future, they will be considered British citizens.

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What happens if I get temporary residence?

  • You can stay in the UK for another 5 years from the date of the application of temporary residence;
  • You can apply for permanent residency if you have lived in the UK for at least 5 years and at least 6 months of each year in the UK, known as continuous (free) residence;
  • You could stay outside the UK for 2 years without losing your temporary residence.

Furthermore, if you have children in the future, they will be able to apply for temporary residence.

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What are my rights once my request is accepted?

Having temporary or permanent residence means that you can:

  • Register with the National Health Service (NHS);
  • Enroll in study courses or continue studying;
  • Access public funds such as benefits and pensions, provided that you are eligible;
  • Bring members of your family to the UK by 31 December 2020;
  • Travel in and out of the UK.

To check your stay you can access an online service. In fact, you will not get a physical document if you are a citizen of the European Community or if you have a biometric card confirming your residence.

Who can apply

Generally to apply for one of the two residences you must:

  • Be an EU citizen or have a family member of the EU;
  • Have lived in the UK for at least 5 years (continuous residence);
  • Started living in the UK before December 2020.

If you have lived less than 5 years in the UK you can apply for temporary residence (pre-Settled Status).

‘Continuous residence’

Residence is called continuous residence when you have lived in the UK for at least 6 months of each of the past 5 years.

So if you have lived at least 5 years in the UK you can apply for permanent residence, otherwise you can apply for temporary residence.

Please note: The current permanent residence will no longer be valid after 31 December 2020. You can still easily convert your current permanent residence into settled status by simply applying for it.

APPLY HERE FOR PRE-SETTLED STATUS

How to apply for residence

It will be possible to apply for residency starting on March 2019. The application form can be completed online and obtain support via telephone or in person.

What documents do you need

To fill in the form you need the following documents:

  • Confirm your identity (proof of identity);
  • Confirm the status of your UK residence;
  • Document confirming your relationship with a member of your family residing in the UK if you live outside the EU.

Proof of identity

You will need to provide a passport or identity document which you can scan through a mobile phone or send by post. plus you will also need to send a copy of a recent photo of your face.

Proof of continuous residence

If you paid taxes through work or benefits received, you can prove that you lived in the UK thanks to your paycheck.

You may also receive a request to provide the following documents:

  • P60s or P45s;
  • Paycheck;
  • Bank account balance;
  • Bills on your name;
  • Letter written by the job employer confirming your employment;
  • The stamp on your passport certifying your entry into the UK;
  • Air and train tickets confirming the journey to the United Kingdom.

If you have any questions or just want to give us some suggestions, write in the comments below.