Preparing for Universal Credit

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We’ve put lots of tools in place to support our residents with the move over to Universal Credit. There are also lots of things you can do to help prepare yourself.

Get a bank account

Universal Credit is much easier to manage if you have a bank account. If you don’t have a bank account we can help you set one up.

Decide how to pay your rent

Once you start receiving Universal Credit, you will be responsible for paying your rent to us using your monthly allowance.

There are a range of different ways to pay your rent, but paying by direct debit or standing order on the day your Universal Credit is received is the best way to manage your money.

Set up a direct debit to pay your rent.

Universal Credit will be paid to you monthly in arrears, not in advance. Your rent account may go into arrears while you wait for your monthly allowance, so it is important to let Lewisham Homes know that you are claiming Universal Credit.

Get online

The Government manages Universal Credit online wherever it can. If you are not online you may find it more difficult to get the benefits you are entitled to.

There are lots of places across Lewisham that offer free internet access and support getting online.

Local Job Centres can also help you get connected, and tell you how and where to make a claim. Your nearest Job Centre is Forest Hill Job Centre.

Remember to budget

Universal Credit will be paid to you monthly, meaning you will need to manage your finances carefully and budget for the month.

As your Universal Credit payment will also include the cost of your rent, the amount you receive is not just for food and living expenses. It is your responsibility to pay your rent to us out of your monthly allowance.

Because Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears rather than in advance, you may need to make your money last longer. Another difficulty you may face is that your first Universal Credit payment is likely to be made six weeks after you submit your claim. This can be a long time to wait for your money, so you may need to put a plan in place to help you through those first six weeks.

If you need help with budgeting, we offer free courses which can help you maximise your income and prioritise debts. Check out our events page for the next dates or call 0800 028 2 028 to find out more.

Request our Universal Credit survival pack

Our Universal Credit survival pack includes:

  • A budget planner – to help you work out how much money you have coming in and what you’re spending it on. We’ve also included an example of a completed budget planner to help you get started.
  • Quids in! magazine – to discover helpful tips and information about moving onto Universal Credit.

To request a pack, contact our Welfare Benefits Team.

Get in touch

Lewisham Homes has a dedicated team of people you can talk to or ask questions about Universal Credit. To get in touch with our Welfare Benefits Team book an appointment online to see a Welfare Benefits Advisor, call 0800 028 2 028 or email welfarebenefits@lewishamhomes.org.uk.