Getting ready for universal credit, let us help you get prepared!

Monthly budgeting

Universal credit is paid monthly to you and you may have other income coming in at different times during the month. sharon and wayne Drawing up a budget of all your household income and outgoings is going to be important if you want to make sure you can pay all your bills and manage until the end of the month. 

If you have debts or require budgeting advice, please contact our income services team on 0345 305 5335 or email

Please also use our Income Expenditure Calculation Sheet.xlsx [xlsx] 12KB to help you plan your monthly budget.

Alternatively, you can seek advice from the citizens advice bureau near you or look on the following resource websites.

Internet access

You will be expected to claim universal credit and report changes in your circumstances online. If you don't have access to the internet at home, you can enquire about access at your local library, community centre, jobcentre or local authority. Your jobcentre of local library can also help you find a course, should you want to improve your computer skills. If you already have access to the internet, look online, there are free courses that will build your confidence.

Paying your rent

When you move onto universal credit tell us immediately so that we know when to expect the first payment of rent from you and so that we can provide you with advice and support you may need with your claim. Please consider paying a little extra rent each week now, so that when you move onto universal credit and are paid monthly in arrears there is a ‘buffer’ on your rent account.

Do you need to open a new bank account?

  • If you don’t have a bank account, think about whether having one will help you to manage your bills and rent payments, you may want to ask for a ‘basic bank account’ which won’t allow you to go overdrawn   Basic Bank Accounts Guide.pdf [pdf] 281KB
  • If you have a partner, you will get a single payment of universal credit for both of you, so consider whether you want a joint account
  • Paying by direct debit can be one of the most effective ways to save money on certain bills. Paying this way can help spread the cost of essentials and many gas, electricity and phone suppliers offer better deals if you choose to pay this way. If you are going to pay your bills by direct debit, make sure you are going to have enough money in your account when it is due to come out or you may face high bank charges

Can couples claim pension credit?

If only one member of a couple is pension credit age, they will be expected to claim universal credit, unless they are already getting pension credit. If you or your partner are of pension credit age, find out if you might qualify for pension credit. Talk to a benefits adviser or phone the pension service on 0800 991 234. If you are awarded pension credit (and any Housing Benefit) this will continue as normal and you will not need to claim UC. If in doubt, ask for help.

Useful contacts

Useful contacts

JJH income services team


Telephone: 0345 305 5335


Money advice service


Telephone: 0300 500 5000 (English)

or 0300 500 5555 (Welsh)

Department for work and pensions (DWP)


Citizens advice bureau (CAB)