(The Money Matters team)
From Wednesday 29 November, Universal Credit replaces some benefits for a lot of people in north Manchester.
Here are our top five tips to get ready for the change if it affects you.
1/ Open a bank or credit union account
You can only get Universal Credit if you have an account which the money can be paid into.
2/ Get online
Universal Credit claims must be made online, so you need access to the internet. If you don’t have it at home, there are quite a few places around north Manchester you can get online for free – check out our WiFi hotspots map.
If you’re not confident using the internet, our digital champions can help show you how to do it. Contact Andrew Beavan to find out more – call 720 5880 or email email@example.com.
3/ Make a budget
The switch to Universal Credit means you will get one benefit payment every month and you must use it to pay your rent yourself. You need to budget to make sure you use it to pay your rent and any other priority bills – if you don’t you could end up with a lot of debt.
4/ Put a little money aside if you can
Waiting times for Universal Credit are at least 6 – 7 weeks from making a claim to getting a first payment, so any money you can put aside now after you’ve paid your rent and other important bills can come in very handy while you wait.
5/ Don’t panic
These changes can seem like a lot to take in, but we’re here to help you. When you are told that you need to claim Universal Credit, contact the Money Matters team. They can help you with any questions you may have and will make sure that the Department for Work and Pensions has all the right details about how much rent you need to pay so you get the right amount of benefit.