Mother and daughter putting coins in piggy bank

Two week tide over for some Universal Credit claimants 

The five-week wait time before the first Universal Credit payment may cause concern, but there is a way to reduce the wait for some claimants 

The move to Universal Credit is in full swing. Claimants on legacy benefits can expect a ‘migration notice’ from the DWP over the next few months.

We should have at least three months to claim Universal Credit after the date of the notice. Our old benefits will stop after the deadline.

After we make our claim, we have to wait around five weeks to get our first UC payment. This can be a long time to go without extra support and may cause even more financial strain. 

Stretching our budgets 

To help tie us over in the meantime, we can take out a budgeting advance to cover emergency costs. However, this is a loan and must be paid back in twelve months.

For some claimants, there are better options available than a budgeting advance loan. 

Those of us claiming Housing Benefit, income-based Jobseeker Support Allowance (JSA),Income Support, and  income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), we will receive a two-week run on of these benefits if we move to Universal Credit. 

We won’t have to wait five weeks to receive benefits. Our old benefits will stop two weeks into our waiting period. And since these benefits are paid in arrears, we are “effectively paid twice” for the first two weeks into our UC claim. This gives us four weeks worth of benefits in a five week wait period

If this applies to us, we may want to hold off on taking out a budgeting advance loan. With the run-on, we don’t need to pay anything back and it doesn’t affect our UC payments. 

Help is on the way 

The process can be confusing but support is available.  We can access the Universal Credit Helpline or contact a Citizens Advice advisor through their free Help to Claim phone service. 

Both the GOV.UK and Citizens advice site have options available for those who cannot speak or hear, use British Sign Language, speak Welsh, or need a translator.

For those of us living in Northern Ireland, we can use the Universal Credit Service Centre. 

In some areas, Quids in! money coaches are also available to help with any concerns regarding Universal Credit. We can find more information here or email 

Quids in! publishes a Guide to Universal Credit which helps with the move to UC – ask your landlord if they have a copy or go to the Quids in! Store to buy copies.

Image: Fizkes / Shutterstock

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