Universal Credit is a new method of receiving a selection of benefits and tax credits in a simple, single monthly instalment. It is paid into an account of your choice, and if both you and your partner are eligible then you will receive a singular monthly payment for the household.

Universal Credit will replace income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit

Universal Credit will generally be managed online. This means that at any time, any day, you can go online and make your claim and check your payments and account. If you don’t have access to the internet at home, your local library normally has computers which are free to use.

Even if you’re claiming Universal Credit, you can carry on working as many hours as you like. As you earn more, the amount you receive through Universal Credit will gradually decline, meaning that you don’t lose all your benefits at once.

The account that you choose your Universal Credit to be paid into needs to be able to receive automated payments. Ideally your account would also let you make automated payments such as Direct Debits or standing orders, enabling you to pay bills such as rent, gas and electricity. The accounts that allow you to make automated payments are: current accounts, basic bank accounts, jam jar accounts and credit union accounts.

Budgeting is key for many households, especially if you are concerned about making ends meet. If you are used to budgeting on a weekly or fortnightly basis, then you will have to start looking at your income and spending across the whole month. It may be a good idea to move your larger payments – such as rent or energy bills – to a few days after you receive your benefits to make sure that you are able to pay them on time.

For more information, please look at the Money Advice Service website.