Universal credit was introduced in October 2013. Current Government proposals are that all households receiving benefits will eventually be moved from their current position to receiving it.  When you move across to universal credit you’ll get one payment instead of different payments for different benefits.

In most cases, it also means your housing benefit won’t be paid directly to us anymore, so you need to make sure you pay your rent to us. The Government says it’ll begin to affect you if you put in new benefit claim on the Island from late-2015, and it won’t affect you for some time if you have an existing claim.

What does Universal Credit replace?
• Income support
• Job seekers allowance
• Working tax credit
• Employment and support allowance
• Child tax credit
• Housing benefit

What happens when you claim Universal Credit?
• You may have to use a computer to claim online
• You need a bank account for the payment to go into
• Benefits will be paid to you in arrears at the end of the month 
• You need to pay your rent to us.

How will this affect me?

To work out how this might affect you, have a look at the Universal credit calculator here.

What do you need to do?
Set up a bank account with a high street bank
If you don’t have bank account, you’ll need to set one up soon so your universal credit gets paid to you. You can set up a basic bank account at most high street banks.

You don’t usually have to pay a monthly fee for the account, or get offered an overdraft. You should be able to set up a Direct Debit to pay your regular bills, including rent.

You can also set up a current account, which you may get an overdraft for.

Set up an account with a credit union
Another option is to set up an account with a credit union (they’re member run cooperatives offering saving and loans). Some credit unions also offer a current account, but you usually get charged a weekly fee if you withdraw money that week.  

You can’t go overdrawn, as they don’t offer overdrafts, and you can run this account alongside your savings account with the credit union. They may also be able to help you manage your money and can agree with you what regular bills you need to pay, make sure money is put by, then arrange payments for you. You then know what’s left in your account for you to use.

If you’d like to join a credit union, click the following link to Find your credit union.