Citizens Advice Bournemouth on hand to help with rollout of Universal Credit

Citizens Advice Bournemouth is helping people get ready for Universal Credit as it rolls out in full across Bournemouth.

Universal Credit is a new benefit which helps people on a low income or not in work meet their living costs. It combines six benefits, including Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit, into a single monthly payment.

At the moment in Bournemouth, Universal Credit is only available to single jobseekers but from November; parents, couples and people who can’t work because of their health who make a new claim will also receive it.

Citizens Advice Bournemouth is highlighting what changes are due to take effect, namely around how Universal Credit is paid, so that people can prepare before applying for the new benefit.

The three changes Citizens Advice Bournemouth says people need to be aware of are:

  • Universal Credit payments are made in arrears once at the end of the month, rather than being paid every week.
  • Payments will go straight into a claimant’s bank account. This means people may need to set up their own standing orders for expenses like rent if it was paid directly to their landlord under the old Housing Benefit system.
  • New Universal Credit applications, and any change in your circumstances, need to be made online.

With people facing a 5 to 6 week wait for their first Universal Credit payment, Citizens Advice Bournemouth is encouraging people to apply for an advance payment if they’re concerned about meeting their living costs in the meantime.

Citizens Advice Bournemouth helped 5 people with a Universal Credit claim in the last financial year. The bulk of queries relate to people wanting to know how they make a claim and if they’re eligible to do so.

More information is available on the Bournemouth Borough Council website here.

Zoe Bradley, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Bournemouth, said:

“Universal Credit is the biggest ever change to the benefit system, so it’s important people get support while they get used to the new system.

We can help people at every stage of the application process – from guiding someone through the online application form, or offering budgeting advice to help people best manage their monthly payment.

Anyone with a question or concern should get in touch with us at the earliest chance so we can help them make preparations for being on Universal Credit.”

For more information contact our AdviceLine on 03444 111 444 or drop-in and see us at either Bournemouth Town Hall or one of our outreaches.