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Preparing for Universal Credit

///Preparing for Universal Credit
Preparing for Universal Credit 2018-01-30T14:18:57+00:00

Universal Credit will change the way you receive and manage your money. You can use the online DWP Universal Credit questionnaire to see if you are ready for the changes.

You can get ready for Universal Credit by:

Opening a bank account

  • Universal Claim will be paid into a bank account so you will need open one if you don’t currently have one. This can be a bank account, Post Office account or Credit Union account.
  • You might find it easier to manage your money if you keep your Universal Credit payment in a separate account from the rest of your income, this way you can budget for things like rent and bills.

Setting up a Direct Debit

  • A Direct Debit can be a useful and hassle-free way of paying your rent. Once you set up a Direct Debit you know that your rent will be paid on the same day every month. Download a Direct Debit form here.

Getting online

  • Universal Credit is ‘digital by design’ which means you will need to make and manage your claim online. If you do not have access to the internet or a computer at home, your local library and JobCentrePlus Office have access. You can also view a map of available computers in the borough here [link to support page].
  • In addition to claiming Universal Credit there are a number of benefits of getting online which include:
  • Finding the best deals for services
  • Accessing job opportunities
  • Finding the best tariffs for utilities, such as gas and electricity
  • Comparing and finding the most suitable insurance plans
  • Online deals for everyday essentials, such as groceries
  • Access to training and employment courses

Creating a monthly household budget and getting help with money management

  • Use this budget planner to help set out what you are spending your money on and see where you could make savings.
  • Prioritise essential bills like rent, council tax and energy bills.
  • If your circumstances have changed and you are struggling to pay your rent you should contact your Rental Income Officer immediately. They will be able to refer you to support to try and help maximise your income, reduce your outgoings and help you budget the income you have.

Increasing your income

There are a number of ways you can try to increase your household income:

  • Look for employment/ increase the hours you work
  • Claim any benefits you are entitled to
  • Attend a training/ employment course
  • Take in a lodger

Getting back into work

  • If you are claiming Universal Credit your work coach will give you advice and support to get you back into work. This will include using ‘Universal Job Match’ which will help you find a suitable job.
  • Barnet Homes offers a number employment and training courses. Please contact us for more information.

Getting the right benefits

  • If you are receiving Universal Credit and are struggling, there may be additional benefits you are entitled to. Visit https://www.entitledto.co.uk/ to see what benefits you may be entitled to.

Starting to save

  • Universal Credit will be a single monthly payment, paid in arrears. This means when you apply for Universal Credit you will not receive your first payment for at least five weeks and from then on, once a month. The reason for this is because Universal Credit is designed to imitate a salary and help people prepare for employment.
  • You can start preparing for the switchover to Universal Credit by putting aside some money every week and by getting your rent account into credit.
  • Using a separate savings account or a Credit Union account will help you keep the money separate from your day to day budget. If you want to get your rent account into credit and want to make a short term agreement to pay a little extra each month you can speak to your Rental Income Officer who can help you.
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