Are You Ready for Universal Credit?

Universal Credit (UC) is being rolled out across North Bristol from July 2018. Once it starts in your area, if you are claiming benefits and have a change of circumstances, it is likely you’ll will be moved onto Universal Credit. However, if you do not have any changes, then you will stay on your current benefits until 2021 or 2022.

Check to see when it starts in your area.

Remember, Universal Credit is one monthly payment (not fortnightly) and will include your housing costs for you to pay your full rent.

How to prepare to make a Universal Credit Claim

Most Universal Credit applications will be done online (you may be able to do them by phone and, in exceptional circumstances, by Home Visit).  You can use a computer, tablet or your smartphone. The application for a single person takes around 40 minutes and just over an hour for a couple.

To make the process easier, make sure you are prepared in advance:

  1. Get an email address

You will need an email address to set up your account online.  Once set up, you can opt to manage it with your mobile phone as alerts can be sent by text (rather than by email).  You can set up an email address for free. If you need help to do this, see below for details of our MoneySmart Online drop-in in Lockleaze.

  1. Get a bank or Credit Union account

Universal Credit will be paid into a Bank, Building Society or Credit Union account.  It can be paid into a Post Office account but after starting your claim it will be expected that you move to a Bank, Building Society or Credit Union account.  You can get a basic bank account or Credit Union account even if you have a poor credit history.

  1. Get your ID ready

You will need ID to be able to get your Universal Credit payment.  Your claim will go through without it but you will not get paid without your ID being confirmed. Even Advanced Payments are blocked until you prove your ID.  This can be done online with Verify which is quite quick if you have photo ID already (Passport, Driving Licence etc.). If you need help doing this, our MoneySmart Online volunteers can help, or you can take your ID to the job Centre.  If you do not have ID then you can answer questions at the Job Centre to prove yourself (such as children’s names, where you went to school etc.) or you can get verified by a professional such as your social landlord, GP etc.

  1. Get your personal details ready

You will need the following information before making your claim:

  • You (and your partner’s) National Insurance Number
  • Your postcode
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Your landlord’s address
  • How much rent you are paying
  • Your bank account details
  • Details of any savings you have
  • If working – your expected monthly wage
  • Details of any other income you receive

If you need help with setting up or managing your online UC claim, drop in to MoneySmart Online any Tuesday between 10.30am and 12.30pm at North Bristol Advice Centre, 2 Gainsborough Square, Lockleaze, BS7 9XA.

If you need help with your benefits, managing your money better or are concerned about debts, North Bristol Advice Centre offer a wide range of free services that can help.

For more information, or to book an appointment, visit or Tel: 0117 951 5751