How can I prepare for Universal Credit?

TIP: The main requirements to make a new claim for Universal Credit are to have an email address and access to the internet. If you are going to struggle accessing the internet see our page – Do I have to be online? for more information.

How can I prepare for Universal Credit?

Universal Credit will change the way you receive and manage your money.

You may not have to claim Universal Credit yet, but it is still a good idea to think about how it will affect you when you do.

These are some things you may like to consider:

You will need an email address
You will need to have an email address to be able to claim UC. If you do not have one - set one up. Get help if you will find this difficult.
You will need to go online
UC is claimed and managed online. So you will need access to the internet and basic computer skills. If you do not have these - find out where help is available.
You will need to verify your identity
The DWP will want to verify your identity - this is easier with photo ID. Start to gather documents such as your passport, driving licence, birth certificate, marriage certificate, benefits letter, NI card, P45 etc.
Managing a Monthly Budget
Universal Credit is paid monthly and in arrears. If you are used to working out your budget weekly or fortnightly, think about how you will manage your money for a whole month.
Do you have a bank account?
The DWP would prefer to pay your UC into a bank or credit union account. If you don't have one - start thinking now about which account is best for you and get advice.
Paying your rent
On UC you will normally be responsible for paying your rent. As soon as you are told you need to claim UC - contact us

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If you would like to talk through some of these issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Example:
Samir was worried about Universal Credit because he had never used a computer before. He knew his local library had computers so asked if there was anyone that could help him. They suggested he attend sessions being run in the local community centre. He now feels ready to make and manage a Universal Credit claim online when his turn comes.

Example:
Audrey doesn’t have a bank account – just a Post Office account. She knows that Universal Credit can be paid into this but is thinking about how she will then pay her rent once she moves onto Universal Credit. She doesn’t think she will be able to open a bank account because she isn’t working. She is delighted to find that all banks have a ‘basic bank account’ that she can open. 

Example:
Glen and Olivia are having their first baby in a few months time. They know this will trigger the need for them to claim Universal Credit. They currently get Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance and budget fortnightly. The move onto Universal Credit will be a big change and so they attend some budgeting classes at their local Family Centre to make sure they can stay on top of things.