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.

  • 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.

Example:
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.

Example:
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.