Over 14,000 people in the Rochdale borough receive Universal Credit

Date published: 24 January 2020

Over 14,000 people in the Rochdale borough are now receiving Universal Credit support, according to the latest official figures.

New data, released this week, shows 14,129 people locally are claiming the benefit, an increase of 2.9% on the previous figures.

Universal Credit replaces six previous benefits with a single monthly payment to provide support for people who are unemployed, in low-paid work or unable to work due to a disability or health condition.

Controversial from the start, the government admitted for the first-time last year that problems with the introduction of the Universal Credit system had driven people to foodbanks as people were left without money due to payment delays.

The roll-out has been plagued by delays to payments, which have left tens of thousands of vulnerable people in rental arrears and some even dependent on foodbanks.

A report from Crisis also claimed single people and small families receiving Universal Credit were at increasing risk of homelessness in parts of the north west, including Oldham and Rochdale, because of a persistent shortfall between the benefit and the true cost of renting.

As Universal Credit is now available in all UK jobcentres the number of people claiming the benefit will continue to rise naturally. This does not necessarily mean an increase in unemployment for the area.

In addition to the standard monthly allowance, there are a number of additional entitlements people may be eligible for, from help with childcare costs to half price travel on rail and bus services.

Up to 85 per cent of childcare costs can be reimbursed through Universal Credit. Costs can be reported online, and those in work while in receipt of Universal Credit can apply for up to £646.35 per month for one child and up to £1,108.40 for two or more children.

You can get up to 50 per cent off train and bus travel if you are eligible for a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card to help you get to interviews and appointments as well as being valid for all other journeys you make. Speak to your Jobcentre work coach to find out more. Those receiving Jobseekers Allowance may also be eligible.

Not having ‘work clothes’ doesn’t have to stop you accepting a job as a Flexible Support Fund is available to help you cover the costs of starting work. This money does not have to be paid back, and can cover the costs of things like clothing and uniforms to start work, and travel to interviews. Again, speak to your Jobcentre work coach to find out more.

If you are having a child you may be entitled to a one-off payment. Known as the Sure Start Maternity Grant, households on Universal Credit can benefit from a one-off payment of £500. This does not have to be paid back and will not affect the benefit payment you receive.

You could save on your Council Tax bill and in some cases, you may not need to pay anything at all. Depending on your circumstances and where you live you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction:

You can get help to start saving. The government’s Help to Save scheme offers people who receive Universal Credit, and some people entitled to Working Tax Credit, incentives to save anything from £1 up to £50 per month. After two years of saving, the government will give you an extra 50p for every £1 you have saved.

Minister for Welfare Delivery, Will Quince said: “We are helping people to access the support they need, and Universal Credit can help you pay essential bills, such as housing and childcare.

“We know life can be complicated at times, but claiming benefits doesn’t have to be. If you need help, our staff are here to simplify the system and make sure you’re getting the right level of support.”

People can also speak to Citizens Advice, who offer a free ‘help to claim’ service for Universal Credit, funded by the department. It can help with all aspects of your application, while all jobcentres across the country have Wi-Fi and computers available to access the internet.

Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for Universal Credit, which is now available in every jobcentre across the UK, can check online.

For more information about Universal Credit, please visit:

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