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Get 123 ready for Universal Credit

The UK Government is changing the way people like you are paid your benefits. Be prepared for Universal Credit – it is easy, just follow our 1,2,3, Get ready steps.

Universal Credit will replace some benefits and tax credits for people both in and out of work.

You will be affected if you receive:

  • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance,
  • Housing Benefit,
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
  • Income Support,
  • Child Tax Credit,
  • Working Tax Credit.

The way you get your money and how it is paid will also change – unlike now, it will become your responsibility to make sure the money you receive for your rent is paid to us.

What should I do? Here are three simple steps to 1,2,3, Get ready for Universal Credit.

Step 1 Banking

At the moment you may be paid your benefits at different times of the month. If that is the case you will be getting regular payments every few days or weeks.

This will change with Universal Credit as it is paid in one lump sum and just once a month. Also, the money must go into your bank, post office or credit union account.

At the moment you can also choose for your housing benefit to be paid straight to us, as your landlord.

This will change with Universal Credit. YOU will get the money and it will become your responsibility to make sure you pay us your rent on time, every time.

The easiest way is to set up a Direct Debit. It is safe and simple to do.

Step 2 Online

The UK Government would prefer that any claims or changes in circumstances for Universal Credit are done online.

This means you will have to go onto the internet and use a computer/laptop or tablet PC to fill in the forms. This is something you won’t be able to manage to do on a mobile phone.

Step 3 Budgeting

There will be other changes as well. Universal Credit is paid in arrears, so you will have to wait for your FIRST payment.

As we said earlier, it is also paid in one lump sum, so you will need to budget your money to make sure it lasts until the next payment.

Want to know more about 1,2,3 Get ready?

Step 1 Open an account

Your Universal Credit must be paid into your bank, post office or credit union account. It is easy to set up an account if you don’t have one.

There are a number of different accounts that will accept Universal Credit payments. They are called:

  • Current account
  • Basic bank account
  • ‘Jam Jar’ account (also called a budgeting account)
  • Credit union account with Smart Money Cymru.

By having an account you may also be able to set up Direct Debits. These are simple and safe to use. They will also help you budget your money, because you can make sure that payments like your rent and other regular monthly bills are paid once your Universal Credit goes into your account.

Your local Citizens Advice and the Money Advice Service can give advice and help on setting up an account. You can contact us on 0300 303 1717 and Citizens Advice by telephoning 0344 4772 020 or visiting www.citizensadvice.org.uk. Contact MAS on 0300 500 5000 or by visiting www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

  • One of the things you will have to consider is whether you want an account in joint names (yours and your partners) or just your name. If you have a joint account you will both be able to access the money in it.
  • You can also compare the different bank accounts available by visiting www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

Step 2 Get online

If you don’t have access to your own computer/laptop or tablet PC there are places throughout Blaenau Gwent where you can use one for free, including at our headquarters, Solis One in Blaina. We can also help if you haven’t previously used a computer or accessed the internet. We can arrange IT training and provide support in completing online forms.

Get Blaenau Gwent Online also offers free computer sessions throughout the county. Staff of Get Blaenau Gwent Online also attend our Work Club at Solis One, every Thursday between 1pm and 3pm. For more information contact Get Blaenau Gwent Online on 01495 355457/355190 or us on 0300 303 1717 if you want details about our Work Club.

Step 3 Get budgeting

Your Universal Credit is paid in one lump sum once a month. Your first payment will be paid in arrears.

This means you will have to wait at least a month for the money.

Start planning now for the change over. You can do that by budgeting your money to make sure it can last until your next payment. If possible, try saving a little cash to help tide you over. The first month will be the most difficult but avoid using doorstep lenders or taking out an expensive loan.

Do remember, we can help you budget your money. Contact us by ringing 0300 303 1717.

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