Get ready for Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a big change from any benefits or tax credits you may get now, and you will need to be ready to manage your claim differently. You will need to:

Get a bank account

You'll need a bank, building society or credit union account that your monthly payment can be paid into. The Money Advice Service guide 'Choosing a bank account for your Universal Credit payment' provides details of account options.

Get online

You'll need internet access to make and manage your Universal Credit claim online. If you don't have access to a computer you can make your claim on a smart phone.  If you don't have internet access or need support getting online you can find details of free internet access, digital support and free courses.  Your local job centre or citizens advice can also provide support.

Get an email address

If you don't have an email address you can sign up for a free email account with:

If you need support setting up an email address you can find details of free internet access, digital support and free courses.  Your local job centre or citizens advice can also provide support.

Get your identity and where you live verified

You can verify yourself online, at your local job centre or citizens advice. This will help reduce delays in processing your application.

GOV.UK Verify is a secure way to prove who you are online. You don't need to prove your identity in person or wait for something to arrive in the post.  It normally takes between 5 and 15 minutes to verify your identity the first time you use GOV.UK Verify.

Get budgeting

Your monthly Universal Credit payment will include any help you get towards paying your rent. You will need to budget so you can pay your rent, your bills and your other living costs for the whole month.

You will also need to tell us if you want help paying your council tax, this is not included in Universal Credit and you will need to apply for Council Tax Support separately.

The following provide budgeting advice:

Know your rent

To avoid delays in payment, you will need to tell the DWP how much your rent is when you first claim Universal Credit and if your rent increases or decreases during your claim.

If you are a private tenant, your rent should be in your tenancy agreement or in any rent increase notice you get from your landlord.

If you are a housing association tenant, you will need to check your rent statement or ask your landlord what your rent is before you claim Universal Credit.

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