Managing your money on Universal Credit

Universal Credit replaces:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit


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:

  • work out what you owe
  • check your bill payments are up-to-date
  • make a budget


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

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
  • advice on your finances
  • 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
  • a banking error
  • an official error
  • or if DWP finds fraud

If you’ve been overpaid and cannot repay, seek benefits advice.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/12/2018

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