Universal Credit will replace:
· Income Support
· Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
· Income-related Employment Support Allowance
· Housing Benefit
· Child Tax Credit
· Working Tax Credit
Universal Credit will not include:
· Council Tax Benefit
· Child Benefit
· Carer’s Allowance
· Contributory Benefits
· Disability Living Allowance
· Passported Benefits (such as free School Meals and Free Prescriptions)
· Personal Independent Payment
Remember, you need to apply for Universal Credit online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit. If you need help with your claim, or your circumstances change, you can contact the Universal Credit Helpline on Tel 0345 600 0723 or text phone 0345 600 0743 between 8am - 6pm, Monday to Friday (closed on bank and public holidays).
· Benefits will be paid monthly in arrears
· If you're a couple, you'll receive one payment between you so you'll need to decide where this payment is made
· You'll need to make your claim for Universal Credit online
· It’ll be paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account.
· Any housing benefit you're entitled to will be paid directly to you as part of your Universal Credit payment. You'll need to think about what method you're going to use to pay your rent to us.
· Universal credit will not stop when you start working, it will gradually decrease as your earnings (not working hours) increase. This is to ensure that you are better off in work.
· The amount of Universal Credit you can get depends on your circumstances and income, more information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/what-youll-get
Claiming Universal Credit
You can currently claim Universal Credit if you’re either:
· a single person anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland
· a couple or family living in certain areas. Find out more on the gov.uk website
To get Universal Credit you must:
· be 18 or over
· be under State Pension age
· not be in full time education or training
· not have savings over £16,000
You’ll get less Universal Credit if you have savings over £6,000 or earn enough money to cover your basic living costs.
If you live with your partner you’ll need to make a joint claim as a couple. If one of you isn’t eligible, their savings and income will still be taken into account.
You may be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or other benefits if you don’t live in a qualifying area or you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit.
Who isn’t eligible
You can’t claim Universal Credit if you already get:
· Income Support
· income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
· income-related Employment and Support Allowance
· income-related Incapacity Benefit
Set up a bank account with a high street bank or building society.
If you don’t have bank account, you’ll need to set one up soon so your Universal Credit gets paid to you. You can set up a basic bank account or a current account at most high street banks.
You don’t usually have to pay a monthly fee for the account, or get offered an overdraft. You should be able to set up a Direct Debit to pay your regular bills, including rent.
You can also set up a current account, which you may get an overdraft for.
Set up a savings account
You could also set up a savings account with a bank or building society.
Set up a Post Office Account.
This includes Post Office card accounts (POCA) that are designed only for benefit payments. Other types of payments, such as wages, can't be paid into it. People who aren't able to have a bank or building society account can usually open a Post Office card account.
Set up an account with a credit union
Another option is to set up an account with a credit union (they’re member run cooperatives offering saving and loans). Some credit unions also offer a current account, but you usually get charged a weekly fee if you withdraw money that week.
You can’t go overdrawn, as they don’t offer overdrafts, and you can run this account alongside your savings account with the credit union. They may also be able to help you manage your money and can agree with you what regular bills you need to pay, make sure money is put by, then arrange payments for you. You then know what’s left in your account for you to use.
If you’d like to join a credit union, visit Find your credit union
Think about budgeting
As Universal Credit is paid monthly, in arrears, you may need to get used to a different way of managing your money. You might be used to budgeting on a weekly or fortnightly basis for example. Take a look at Knightstone’s useful Be Money Ready website for all kinds of money-related tips and advice to help you with the change.