Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) is the Government’s new benefit system that combines multiple benefits into one monthly payment. 
It was originally announced that a national roll out of UC would begin in October 2013 but this has been put back due to it being such a big project. The Government have since announced that in October 2013 the new system will be roll out in stages.
One of the first areas affected is Shotton in Flintshire so some residents will potentially be affected by this. However, the roll out is very limited at this stage so only single people who are making a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance are likely to be affected, with no announcement as yet of when people in a couple and/or with children will be included.

Universal Credit will eventually replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

The Government plans to make Universal Credit available in each part of Great Britain during 2016. New claims for existing benefits, which Universal Credit is replacing, will then close down, with the vast majority of claimants moving onto Universal Credit during 2016 and 2017.

Whilst for the vast majority of residents UC will not affect them in the immediate future, it is worth noting that there are several elements of UC that people will have to prepare for:

Budgeting monthly

UC will be paid monthly which may differ from the way you currently receive your income. It’s therefore important to make sure your budget is in good health so that you find this transition easier than if you are struggling to balance your income and expenditure now.
Even though UC probably isn’t imminent for you, now is the time to act as getting a handle on your finances isn’t easy. Our website has many tips about managing your money and also highlights websites that offer further information.

Getting a bank account

You may currently use a Post Office account that only allows you to withdraw your money or you may find you are incurring bank charges from the account you currently use. If this is the case, now is the time to open a new bank account and enable yourself to manage your money as conveniently and effectively as possible. This will allow you to pay your bills like rent and council tax by Direct Debit, meaning you don’t have to remember to pay or visit a shop or post office. It also gives you entry into our prize draw where you could win £100 every three months.

Getting online

The Government want UC claims to be made and managed online. If you don’t currently use the internet start to think of ways that you could access it. Many libraries have beginner courses to show you the basics. As well as preparing for UC this also opens up numerous options to save money, from using comparison sites to monitoring energy usage and bills. 

Implications of Universal Credit

The Money Advice Service have five new animated videos to help claimants understand some of the implications of Universal Credit.

Four videos cover the steps involved in choosing, opening, setting up and managing a bank account. The fifth video provides easy-to-follow information and guidance for those who need advice about managing and paying their rent.

Click on the links below to view the videos:

How to choose a bank account

How to open a bank account

How to make payments using your bank account

How to use your bank account to make budgeting easier

Worried about paying your rent?