Seven things you can do to prepare for Universal Credit
25 May 2016
Unless you’re going to make a new claim, you have nothing to worry about until after mid-June 2018. However, Universal Credit will soon come round so use this time to get organised. Here are seven things you can do to keep you ahead of the changes.
Make sure you have a bank or building society account and ask them if it’s the type that can receive automated payments.
You’re going to start being paid monthly so one of the best things you can do is draw up a budget. How much money do you receive? What do you spend your money on each month? You need to know this to be able to make it last for all the important things like rent/mortgage, feeding the family and paying the bills. Check out capmoneycourse.org to learn how to budget.
Find out where you can access the internet as the new system will be all online. Jobcentre Plus? Local library? Relative’s house? If you’re worried about your IT skills, ask the Jobcentre or your local library if they can give some help.
Under Universal Credit, couples will be paid a single payment under a joint claim. If you’re worried about this, ask your Work Coach about twice-monthly payments or splitting payments between two people. There may be some support to help you with this – definitely worth asking.
Let your landlord know that you are being switched to UC and that there may be an unavoidable delay during the change over. One of the big differences will be that you will have to organise your income and pay the landlord yourself. However, if there are special reasons, such as poor mental health, this can be paid direct to the landlord although expect around six weeks to get this sorted.
Ask for an advance payment if you will struggle to get by before your first payment.
Contact the Universal Credit if you need some help. Universal Credit helpline Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Telephone: 0345 600 0723, Textphone: 0345 600 0743
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