Universal Credit and Mental Health in Monmouthshire
Universal Credit is coming to Monmouthshire in September 2015. This factsheet gives you up-to-date information about how it affects anyone already getting benefits because of
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 means-tested Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) and Housing Benefit as well as Tax Credits.
But Universal Credit is being introduced very, very slowly. The only people in Monmouthshire it will affect in the next few months will be people who are single, medically fit for work and who are not already getting JSA. No-one already getting main-phase ESA will be affected. The Regulations insist that new applicants for benefits who are medically unfit to work are not allowed to claim Universal Credit. They will continue to be eligible for ESA just as they did before Universal Credit was thought of.
The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has stated that people who are getting the Support Component of ESA won’t be affected by Universal Credit until after 2017.
There are some changes for people who apply for ESA after March 2017 if they are not assessed for the Support Component. But this change will not affect anyone who is already getting ESA at any level.
If you’re not yet assessed for ESA main-phase (so you’re getting ESA at the assessment rate – usually about £73 per week or about £57 if you’re under 25) we have a different fact-sheet for you.
So to summarise – if you are already getting main-phase ESA now, you are not going to be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit for years to come. Nor will your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction be affected.
Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you’re already getting DLA you’ll be asked to change over to PIP, but at the moment it doesn’t seem to be happening to many people in Monmouthshire.
If you have any questions about any benefits and you have a mental illness, 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)