Universal Credit is a new type of benefit designed to support people who are on a low income or out of work. It is currently being rolled out across the UK.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
- housing benefit (including housing costs)
- income support (IS)
- income-based jobseekers allowance (JSA)
- income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- child tax credit
- working tax credit
Universal Credit has been rolled out to every jobcentre across Wales, but it only affects newly unemployed people at the moment. Things to be aware of:
- If you have a change of circumstances you may be moved onto Universal Credit now!
- You will be contacted by the Jobcentre before they move you onto universal credit
- Everyone will eventually be moved onto Universal Credit
What Do You Need to Know?
Universal Credit will change the way you receive your benefits.
For most people it will become a single monthly payment, including housing costs and will be transferred directly into a bank account.
If you rent is paid directly to your landlord, this will change, it will be paid as part of your universal credit payment and you will be responsible for paying it to your landlord.
Start preparing now don’t leave it until the last minute!
Four Things You Can Do Now
1. Get Online
If you don’t use the internet and don’t have an email address, there are lots of ways you can get help. Ask a friend or family member, go to your local library, or speak to your landlord or local authority. Visit Get Online in Wales to find your nearest public computer.
2. Get a Bank Account
You will need to have a bank account for the Universal Credit payment to go into. There are lots of different accounts, for help go to the bank account section of our website. If you have an account but don’t or can’t use it you should be eligible for a fee free basic bank account. Find out more about basic bank accounts by visiting the Money Advice Service.
3. Start to Save
Try to put money aside every week, even £1 or £2 will make a difference, and will help when you are waiting for the first universal credit payment.
4. Get Support
If you need help, the following helplines are free and confidential:
- Stepchange Debt Charity – 0800 138 1111
- Citizens Advice – 0844 477 2020 (calls cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers)
- Money Advice Service – 0800 138 7777 (calls are free)
Visit the advice section of our website for more information on where to get help and support.