Universal Credit

Universal Credit has now come into force for everyone in the Bath, North East Somerset, Sedgemoor, Mendip and West Somerset, Taunton Deane, South Somerset and North Somerset.

Universal Credit will be rolled out in other areas during 2018 and we’ll update you if you're in an area that's due to be affected.

Don't forget - we're here to help. Get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns about Universal Credit.

What benefits 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?

  • Benefits will be paid monthly in arrears
  • If you're a couple, you'll receive one payment between you so you'll need to decide where this payment is made
  • You'll need to make your claim for Universal Credit online
  • You'll need a bank account where the benefit will be paid to one member of the household
  • Any housing benefit you're entitled to will be paid directly to you as part of your Universal Credit payment. You'll need to think about what method you're going to use to pay your rent to us.

How will it affect you?

You'll be affected if:

  • You claim benefits and your circumstances change after Universal Credit is introduced in your area
  • You become a new benefit claimant after Universal Credit is introduced in your area.

To work out how Universal Credit might affect you financially, check out our Benefits calculator page.

What 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, visit Find your credit union.

Think about budgeting

As Universal Credit is paid monthly, in arrears, you may need to get used to a different way of managing your money. You might be used to budgeting on a weekly or fortnightly basis for example. Take a look at our useful Be Money Ready website for all kinds of money-related tips and advice to help you with the change.