Universal Credit – what you need to know

Universal Credit is a new type of financial support for people of working age who are looking for work or on a low income. It’s a new single monthly payment which merges together some of the benefits and tax credits that you might be getting now.

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What’s different about Universal Credit?

  • It will be paid monthly into an account you choose
  • If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then pay your landlord yourself
  • If you and your partner are both eligible, you will get one monthly payment for the household

Managing your Universal Credit claim online

Most people will be expected to make their Universal Credit claim online which will then allow you to check your payments and updates through your online account.

How to get ready for the changes

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.

Make sure you have a bank account (or similar)

To receive Universal Credit payments, you will need a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as a credit union.

Check whether you can set up automated bill payments (direct debits)

If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment – you’ll then need to pay Hafod yourself.

Draw up a monthly budget

As Universal Credit is paid monthly, you may need to make changes to the way you budget, especially when you move from the old to the new system.

Make sure you have access to the internet

You will be expected to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online. If you need help getting online, your local library can help you to find a course. Most libraries also have computers which are usually free of charge to use.

Make a payment

  • Consider making extra payments into your rent account before you swap to Universal Credit
  • To avoid going into rent arrears you will need to pay a month’s rent in advance. This could be difficult to find in one lump sum. If you start making small payments onto your rent account now you will have a ‘buffer’ that will help when it’s your time to change.
This short film sets out how Universal Credit will help to make work pay, the support that claimants will get and what will be expected in return.