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Universal Credit: The Facts
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit for working age people that replaces six existing benefits. Instead of receiving different benefits at different times of the month you will get a single monthly payment directly into your bank account, including money towards helping you pay your rent.
This means that you will be responsible for making rent payments yourself and ensuring that these are paid in full and on time. The best way to manage this and ensure peace of mind is to set up a regular payment method such as a direct debit.
Falling behind with your rent could put your home at risk, so it’s important to prioritise this payment.
How do I claim Universal Credit?
UC claims are made and managed online, which means you’ll need an email address and internet access to get set up online. Once you’ve made a claim, you will need to report any changes and provide relevant information via an online claim journal.
This includes job searching activities if you are looking for work, so it is important that you have a reliable way of getting online and feel comfortable using a computer. If you need help with this, we offer a range of support including digital skills training and helping you to get online or access the internet in your local area.
When will I be paid?
If your claim is successful, you will normally get your first UC payment 5-6 weeks after submitting your claim. In some cases this takes longer, especially if you have been asked to provide additional information. After your first payment UC is paid at monthly intervals, so you will always be paid on roughly the same date each month.
UC payments can only be made into a UK bank account, so if you don’t already have one of these, you should think about opening one now.
It can be quite difficult to manage whilst waiting for your first payment of UC, so having some savings to tide you over really helps. If you don’t have any savings, it’s a good idea to start putting a little aside each week if you can, even if you are not expecting to move onto UC any time soon.
If this isn’t possible, you have the option to take an advanced payment loan while you wait for your first UC payment. This can be up to 100% of your expected monthly award, but your future payments will be reduced until you have paid this back, so make sure you budget for this when deciding how much to ask for.