There is some help out there if you know where you look and you’re prepared to ask for it. The starting point is probably DWP themselves but you have to know what you’re asking for. Again, our Guide has more details but you could be entitled to an advance payment, a budgeting advance, a budgeting loan or hardship payment. If you can prove monthly payments in arrears going to one person for the whole household will cause you hardship, an Alternative Payment Arrangement may be available. Same if you can show payments to you for your rent, instead of straight to your landlord, will cause problems.
DWP numbers for Universal Credit enquiries, Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm:
- Full service: 0345 600 4272
- Live service: 0345 600 0723
- Textphone: 0345 600 0743
- Welsh language: 0345 600 3018
From landlines, calls cost up to 9p per minute. From mobiles, calls cost from 3p to 55p per minute, depending on your network.
You’ll need your National Insurance number to hand. If you don’t know your NI number, it’s worth looking it up. Click here for more information.
Your local council may have a welfare support team or you may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Speak to them and, if you’re in a housing association place, speak to them as soon as possible about what help is available.
For all the above, Citizens Advice can help you further, alongside any local advice agencies. Claimants also told us it’s an idea to know who else you could turn to if things get bad: who you could ask for a lift or leave the kids with, or even where to turn when the cupboards are bare, like the foodbank.
What should I do now?
You’ll find it a lot easier to manage your Universal Credit if you have a bank account. See advice for opening a basic bank account. If you don’t have a bank account when Universal Credit is introduced you’ll be given your benefits via a Paypoint card that you can use at anywhere showing the Paypoint logo.
It’s worth getting online. The Government wants to administer Universal Credit online where it can. If you are not online you may find it more difficult to get the benefits you are entitled to.
Universal Credit will be paid monthly, which means your budgeting skills need to be tip top. See our advice here
- Citizens Advice
- Factsheet by Child Poverty Action Group
- Rethink Factsheet
- Benefits Calculator
- The Mirror: 5 Things You Need to Know About UC
- Intro video from the DWP
- Official Government information
- Money Advice Service information
- Turn2us guide to Universal Credit
For the latest information on UC, sign up for the Quids In Readers Club which features our regular UC Watch column.
Click here to buy our Universal Credit Guide online.