Universal Credit

Universal Credit will affect anyone who is in a receipt of any benefits.
It plans to be a new single, monthly payment combining benefits and tax credits and will go directly to a single member of a household. Universal credit will be paid directly into the individual’s bank account monthly and in arrears.
It will replace:

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits

It will be your responsibility to manage your finances and prioritise your bills. If your rent is paid by your local authority as Housing Benefit, you will be responsible for managing the payment of your rent from the total that you are paid by the government.

The housing and rent element will only go direct to the landlord for tenants deemed vulnerable.
Most claims for universal credit will be made online, and it is expected that people will tell the DWP about changes in circumstances online too.

Universal Credit Links

https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/overview

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/universal-credit-an-introduction

Bank accounts

If you’re one of the million people who can’t get a regular bank account, it can be really difficult. Yet there is a solution called a ‘basic bank account’. This product is designed for those with poor credit scores.

As the name suggests, a basic bank account offers a place for you to store your money and pay your monthly bills.  Most basic bank accounts will give you a debit card, so you can make payments in shops and online, and all allow you to set up direct debits – which is great, as this can make bills cheaper than paying by cash or cheque.

Which bank can I open an account with?

Many banks offer these accounts but these banks (Barclay’s, NatWest and HSBC) seem to welcome basic bank account customers.

What ID do you need to open a basic bank account?

For a basic bank account all you need are the following documents

  • Full current passport
  • Benefit book/benefit letter dated within the last 3 months
  • Tenancy agreement
  • Council tax bill

What can you do?

  • Start thinking about how you will be able to budget your money if it is paid directly to you. If you think you might struggle, contact an advice service now: don’t leave it until it becomes a problem.
  • Set up a bank account and direct debit so that your rent is paid automatically when you receive your benefits.
  • Plan that your rent payment is paid automatically on the same day that your receive your Universal Credit. This way you can ensure it is paid first.

PLEASE NOTE: It is a condition of your Tenancy Agreement that you keep us (and your Local Authority if you receive Housing Benefit) informed of any changes to your circumstances including who lives with you, financial circumstances, changes relating to employment and education, changes related to children.