Lots to think about

Things to think about

If you are thinking about claiming Universal Credit then seek advice from a Benefits Adviser.

If you are on one or more of the benefits Universal Credit is replacing – there is a lot to consider, such as:

  • What you’ll be expected to do in exchange for receiving Universal Credit.
    This will be outlined in your Claimant Commitment – see What is the Claimant Commitment for more information.

  • What deductions may be taken off your Universal Credit.
    See Deductions for more information.

  • Taking responsibility for paying your rent yourself, if you are currently having any Housing Benefit paid directly to your landlord*.
    See Help with your rent for more information.

  • Needing an email address, mobile phone number and regular access to the internet.
    See Do I have to be online? for more information.

  • How you’ll manage budgeting your money monthly*.
    See Getting paid for more information.

  • If you are a couple, which account it is paid into.
    See Claiming as a couple for more information.

  • Some people are worse off on Universal Credit.

So if you are thinking of claiming please do seek advice – you need to make sure that taking all your circumstances into account, you will be better off.

*If you are claiming Universal Credit in Scotland, then there is a different system called Scottish choices. This means you can choose to have your Universal Credit award paid to you twice a month and for an amount of your Universal Credit to be paid direct to your landlord and will be offered these options when you first make your claim.

Raheema was told that she may be better off on Universal Credit. When she entered her details into an online calculator it did show that she would get £24 a month more in Universal Credit than she was getting in Tax Credits. She wanted to make sure this was correct and discussed her situation with a Benefits Adviser.
She found out that if she went onto Universal Credit she may be asked to look for a full-time job, and could actually be worse off – as she’d forgotten that her Tax Credits were being reduced due to an overpayment that would also be deducted from any Universal Credit award.

Sandra was told that she could be better off on Universal Credit as a working carer. She works part-time and gets some Housing Benefit to help her pay her rent. She spends 35 hours a week caring for her disabled mum. She discussed her situation with a Benefits Adviser and found out that she would be £120 a month better off on Universal Credit. She is happy to make and manage an online UC claim. She already has a bank account and is happy to set up a direct debit to pay all her rent.

NOTE: Some people not currently entitled to benefits may be able to receive a financial top up from Universal Credit – seek advice from a Benefits Adviser or use an online benefit calculation tool.