Get ready

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Even if you are not affected by Universal Credit yet, there are several things you can be doing to prepare.


Open a bank account

To receive Universal Credit payments, you must have an account with a bank, building society, credit union or similar provider. So you may need to open an account, or change your account if it is unsuitable.  

For example:

  • If you and your partner are both claiming Universal Credit, you will receive a single joint payment so you may want a joint account
  • If your rent was previously paid direct to us, you will now have to make arrangements to pay it yourself. The easiest way to do this is through Direct Debit, so you need to make sure you can set up automated payments.

Here's some useful information and advice about opening a bank account.

Start budgeting now

Under Universal Credit, you will receive a single payment which has to last a whole month and cover all your outgoings, including rent, bills, food and household essentials. So you will need to manage your money more carefully.

The amount of Universal Credit you get is calculated each month and depends upon your earnings and circumstances at that time. This is known as the assessment period. It can take several weeks from making your claim until you get your first payment, so you need to start putting some money away now to cover this time.

You can find more information and advice in Improving your budgeting skills

If you are worried about how you will manage your money until you get paid, see the Money Advice Service guide on Support while waiting for benefit payments.

Make sure you can get online

You will have to make your Universal Credit claim, and eventually manage your account, online.

If you don't have access to the internet at home, you will need to find a way to get online regularly. Your Jobcentre or local library will have computers you can use for free. They can help you find training or advice if you need to improve your online skills or confidence.

You can search for local centres where you can get online for free on the UK Online website.

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