Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. The main difference is that your rent will no longer be paid directly to your landlord and will be included in your monthly payment, giving you complete responsibility for your money and spending.
It replaces six of the existing benefits and tax credits, which are:
You may be able to claim Universal Credit if:
If you receive any of these benefits or tax credits and your circumstances change in a way that would have meant you would make a new claim to one of these benefits, you will need to claim Universal Credit instead.
If you are already claiming the existing benefits and/or tax credits, you won’t need to do anything until you are contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They will get in touch with you if your circumstances have triggered the switch to Universal Credit.
If you’re claiming one of the existing benefits and have a change in circumstance – for example, you’ve moved in with a partner – you may get moved onto Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is paid directly into your bank, building society or credit union account each month. This means that you’ll receive a lump sum payment each month and you will be required to manage your money because your rent will be paid directly to you, rather than to your landlord.
If you’re not able to open a bank, building society or credit union account, call the Universal Credit helpline to arrange a different way of getting paid.
Your first payment won’t come into your account for 5 weeks. To avoid getting into money problems you can always use a credit union as a source of affordable and local lending. They also offer current accounts and you can normally apply for these, even if you’ve had money problems in the past.
Council tax reduction support is not included in your Universal Credit payments. If you receive council tax reduction support or think you might be eligible, contact your local council.
Universal Credit payments are paid monthly and is all about making people responsible for their money. Remember your rent payment is made to you and that you are responsible for paying it to Great Places.
If you find yourself struggling with one monthly payment, there are other payment options available. You may be able to:
You can learn more about Alternative Payment Arrangements on the Government website.
Setting up a direct debit is the easiest way to make sure you can pay your rent each on time. You can set one up by calling us on 0300 123 1966 or by using our online web chat facility. You will need to have your bank account details ready.
The Government have set up a Help to Save incentive scheme that is designed to encourage claimants of Universal Credit to save money. It pays a 50% bonus on the amount saved – up to a maximum of £1200. You can save between £1 and £50 per month, you don’t have to commit to saving money every month, and you can even make withdrawals if you find that you need a bit more money in your wallet. Want to find out more?