Universal Credit and other benefits for Mental Health.
Facts for new applicants for benefits
Universal Credit is coming to Monmouthshire in September 2015. This factsheet gives you up-to-date information about how it affects awaiting individuals a decision on their Employment & Support.
The idea behind Universal Credit is that it will be the only benefit for anyone unable to work for any reason, or who gets low wages in employment or self-employment. It also covers housing costs. So it will eventually replace all the means-tested benefits. But Universal Credit is being introduced very, very slowly.
If you apply for benefit because you are medically unfit for work and have a medical certificate to prove it, you’re eligible for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA). That’s the case even now that Universal Credit has arrived in Monmouthshire. In fact, you’re not allowed to apply for Universal Credit.
When you first apply for ESA you’re paid at an assessment rate. After 3 months the DWP should have assessed you to decide your eligibility. Now, if it’s decided that you don’t qualify for ESA, you can ask the DWP to look again at the decision. This is called “Mandatory Reconsideration”. During this time you don’t get any ESA at all. Before 21st September 2015 you could have applied for Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) because the DWP has said that you’re fit for work.
But from 21st September you might have to apply for Universal Credit instead. That is not a good idea. Because once you get Universal Credit, you cannot later apply for ESA. Universal Credit pays less in some circumstances for people who are unable to work because of ill-health. In any case, there’s usually a 5-week delay before you get any money from Universal Credit. By that time, your Mandatory Reconsideration should be complete.
It’s complicated and that’s why we’re here to help. To find out more and to get practical face-to-
face help, please get in touch with us – simply phone the office on 01873 858275 and we’ll get
back to you.
Chris Beer, Mind Monmouthshire Welfare Benefits Advice Worker (firstname.lastname@example.org)