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Get ready for Universal Credit

Follow this action plan to make sure you're ready for the introduction of Universal Credit between now and 2018.

Make sure you have a bank account (or similar)


To receive Universal Credit payments, you will need a bank or building society account, or an account with an alternative provider such as a credit union.


If you don't have an account - or you want to check that the one you have is OK for Universal Credit - read the guide Choosing a bank account for your benefit payment.




Decide whether you need a joint account


If you live with your partner, and you're both eligible for Universal Credit, you'll get a single monthly payment which can be paid into either a joint or an individual account.


Find out what changes you need to make and whether you need a joint account in the guide Joint Universal Credit payments for couples.

Check whether you can set up automated bill payments


If you get help with your rent, this will be included in your monthly payment - you'll then need to pay your landlord yourself.


If you have a credit union account or a prepaid card account, check that you can set up automated payments for things like rent and bills. If you can't, you should open a basic bank account, or find a different provider.

If you have a Post Office® card account, you won't be able to set up automatic payments so you'll need to use a bank account instead.

Draw up a monthly budget


Because Universal Credit is paid monthly, you may need to make changes to the way you budget, especially when you move from the old to the new system.


If you're new to budgeting or you want to improve your budgeting skills, read the guide How to budget for a monthly benefit payment.

Use a Budget planner to help you work out how much money you'll have coming in each month and what you need to spend it on.

Get an estimate of how much Universal Credit you'll be entitled to - including how much better off you'll be in work - with this calculator on the Policy in Practice website.

Make sure you have access to the internet


You will be expected to claim Universal Credit and manage your account online.


If you need help getting online, your local library can help you to find a course. Most libraries and Job Centre Plus offices also have computers which are usually free of charge to use.

If you don't have a computer or laptop, find out where to get online for free on the UK Online website.


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