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Paragon Asra Housing Ltd

Asra and Paragon have recently joined together to form Paragon Asra Housing Ltd (PA Housing). PA Housing is a leading provider of housing for people and communities across central and southern England. We support more than 50,000 customers who live in more than 24,000 homes.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit rules Housing Benefit will be paid directly to our customers in most cases.  The customer will then be responsible to ensure that rent is paid to PA Housing.

Universal Credit replaces six current benefits, including Housing Benefit. It is paid as a single payment, calendar monthly in arrears which means that your housing costs are paid at the same time as your other benefits, and it’s up to you to pay the rent out of this payment.  Universal Credit is now in operation in every area of the UK for single people with no children making a new claim for benefit.

There are also some Job Centres operating the ‘full’ service where anyone making a new claim will be directed onto Universal Credit, no matter what their personal circumstances.

Tell us if you are claiming Universal Credit    

Do you need help with Universal Credit?

To find out more about what Universal Credit is, watch this video below: 

If you need to apply for Universal Credit you can pick up some useful hints and tips by watching this video below:

  • How is it paid?

    Universal Credit is paid monthly into a bank account of your choice. It is really important that you ensure you have a bank account, to enable this payment to be made. Our Tenancy Sustainment Team will be able to help you with this.

    If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then pay us directly yourself. If you are unsure about how this may affect you, please call our Tenancy Sustainment Team on 0116 257 6716 or email universalcredit@pahousing.co.uk

  • What does Universal Credit replace?

    Universal Credit replaces several different types of benefits and tax credits. These include:      

    • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Child Tax Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Housing Benefit
  • How much Universal Credit will I receive?

    You can get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you’ll be entitled to with this calculator on the Policy in Practice website.

    Universal Credit Calculator

  • When does Universal Credit start?

    If you’re already claiming one or more of the benefits which are being phased out, you should carry on claiming as normal.  Existing benefit claimants will start to be transferred to Universal Credit at some point in 2018.

    If you’re attempting to make a new claim for one of the ‘old’ benefits it will depend on your personal circumstances and where you live as to whether you claim Universal Credit. 

  • How do I get ready for Universal Credit?

    Even if you’re not likely to be affected straight away, there are things you can do now to make sure you’re prepared for Universal Credit. Here are some handy tips:

    1)    Getting into credit on your rent account now could help you avoid rent arrears in future. Paying as little bit per week can help safeguard against unwanted rent arrears in the future.

    2)    You will need a bank or building society account, to receive payments. Speak to our Tenancy Sustainment Team if you need assistance in setting up a bank account.

    3)    If you live with your partner, and you’re both eligible for Universal Credit, you’ll get a single monthly payment so you need to decide who will receive it.

    4)    Set up direct debits to easily manage your rent and bills.

    5)    Draw up a monthly budget now to help you manage your money when you claim UC.

    6)    Ensure that you are aware of your local internet access points if you don't have it at home as Universal Credit will need to be managed online. You will also need to set up an email address if you don't already have one.  You can contact our Tenancy Sustainment Team on 0116 2576716 for assistance.

  • What happens at your first Universal Credit appointment at the Job Centre?

    Once you have submitted your Universal Credit claim online, DWP will contact you to confirm the date of your ‘Initial Work Search Interview (WSI).

    If you do not attend your WSI your claim will not proceed. If you do not give a good reason for not attending you will have to make a new claim for Universal Credit. If you do give a good reason for not attending you may be given a new appointment.

    Make sure you remember to take all required evidence documents that you used when making your claim online, together with some form of identities, such as a drivers licence or passport.

    At the interview, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your job search and will be presented with a Claimant Commitment. You must accept and sign the document as a condition of your entitlement to Universal Credit and will be provided with a copy to take home. It’s very important that you fully understand your Claimant Commitment so make sure that if you’re not sure about anything that you ask.

    You are entitled to support to help you manage your claim and to search for work. If you need help with managing your monthly budget or getting online or if you have any problems understanding the documentation you should say so at your interview. You’ll then have the opportunity to discuss available support.

    You have the right to request an advance payment of Universal Credit at this meeting.  You can claim 50% of your monthly entitlement which can help to see you through the initial period of 5-6 weeks without being paid.  Please note that this advance has to be paid back in instalments from your monthly UC entitlement.  You can ask for this to be done over a 12 month period.

    Finally, your interviewer will remind you of your responsibilities in receiving Universal Credit and what will happen if you fail to meet them. This could include part or all of your payment being put on hold so, if you are not sure about anything it’s important that you ask!

Our Tenancy Sustainment Team

We are dedicated to helping our customers who may be struggling to manage due to one or more of these reforms.  We can help you to apply for other benefits, request back-dates, appeal against decisions that you don’t agree with, set up email addresses, open bank accounts and help you to overcome any problems with your benefits that you might encounter.

Last year we carried out over 1100 face to face appointments with our customers.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0116 2576716 or universalcredit@pahousing.co.uk if you need advice or support.

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