What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a government policy which is scheduled to be introduced in Northern Ireland in October 2013. Under this policy all benefits will be paid directly to an individual claimant, per household, under one single payment. This in effect will therefore abolish typical individual benefit payments such as Housing Benefit, which will be amalgamated into the one universal credit payment.
How does Universal Credit affect Landlords?
The introduction of Universal Credit will see the end to housing benefit payments being made directly to Landlords. This has resulted in vast level of debate in relation to Universal Credit, as many Landlords fear that it may become more difficult for them to receive their rent on time.
How does Universal Credit affect Tenants?
Following the introduction of Universal Credit no new claims for Housing Benefit will be considered, instead this will be combined into the one single Universal Credit payment. In cases of existing Housing Benefit claimants the government aim to introduce a phased transfer to Universal Credit between 2014 and 2017.
Universal Credit will also see the introduction of new caps on the level of benefits which can be received. The maximum payment which can be received by a single adult will be £350 per week and couples and lone parents can expect to receive no more than £500 per week.
Tenants will be responsible for ensuring that their rent is paid to the Landlord on time, from the monies they receive by way of Universal Credit.