Managing your money on Universal Credit
Universal Credit replaces:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Moving to Universal Credit
If you get one of the affected benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you about moving to Universal Credit.
Check your postcode to see when Universal Credit is coming to your area.
You will have to wait at least 5 weeks for your first payment. Here are some ideas to help your money last while you wait:
- check your bill payments are up-to-date
Try Money Advice Service's Budget Planner to take control of your finances.
If you can, buy items such as nappies, washing powder and other essentials in bulk.
Visit our online community or forums such as Money Saving Expert to see how other people have managed on a budget.
It’s important to budget so that you can pay important bills. You should prioritise the following:
- rent or mortgage – to avoid losing your home
- council tax and court fines – you could go to prison if you do not pay
- energy bills – it's important to stay warm
Change in circumstances
You must contact DWP if your situation changes. The DWP calls this a change in circumstances. Your claim could be reduced or stopped if you do not report this change immediately.
If your circumstances have not changed, you do not need to claim Universal Credit until DWP contacts you.
Universal Support is help from the DWP with managing payments when you’re claiming Universal Credit. This is:
- help with using a computer to make or maintain your claim
- personal budgeting to manage your monthly Universal Credit
- alternative payment arrangements, such as paying your landlord direct or splitting Universal Credit between you and your partner
The Money Advice Service has a Money Manager for Universal Credit Payments.
Dealing with deductions
If you have a benefit overpayment, the DWP will take a monthly deduction from your Universal Credit.
Overpayments can happen because of:
- incomplete information on your claim form
- if you fail to mention a change in circumstances
- an unpaid loan from the DWP
- the late award of another benefit or income
If you’ve been overpaid and cannot repay, seek benefits advice.
Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/12/2018