Check UC is the right benefit for you .

From 25th July 2018 new claims for most benefits / tax credits for working age people in Sunderland will usually be for Universal Credit.  You do not need to claim UC otherwise until the DWP tell you to.

Get the right bank account

You will need one to get paid.  It must be able to receive electronic payments from the DWP.

There are many different accounts and options to choose from - select the one that best suits you:

  • Current account
  • Basic bank account
  • 'Jam jar' account (also called a rent account or a budgeting account)
  • Some types of Credit Union account
  • Prepaid cards

Note-You will need certain documents to open an account.

Draw up a budget

When you claim UC you will get one monthly payment to cover your personal and housing costs so you may need to change the way you manage your money over the month .

  • Take a look at what you have coming in and out - a budget calendar could help with this
  • Plan a monthly budget - rather than weekly or fortnightly
  • Compare gas and electricity prices - SWITCH if you can get a better deal with another provider
  • Consider saving a little
  • Become a smart spender

Waiting times for Universal Credit are at least 5 weeks from making a claim to getting a first payment, so any money you can put aside now will come in very handy while you wait.

  • You can get Advance Payment (up to 100% of your projected entitlement) to help you manage but you do have to pay this back
  • You  should only borrow the amount you think you will need to pay your housing costs and basic living expenses
  • If you do not ask for 100% to start with you can ask for more if you run into problems
  • Any money you can put aside now will come in very handy while you wait - and may limit the amount of Advance Payment that you need

Set up an e-mail address

You will need an email address to enable you to claim Universal Credit. You cannot continue with the application unless you have an active email address.  If you need to open an email account, here is a useful video on how to how to sign up for an email account.

Find your national insurance number

You will need one to complete your claim - and one for your partner if you have one.  You can find your National Insurance number on your payslip, P60, or letters about tax, pensions and benefits.  If you have a personal tax account you can also view it there and print a confirmation letter.

If you still can't find it, you fill in form CA5403 and send it to the address on the form.

Get online

You will need to be able to get one line to be able to make and manage your claim.

Find out where you can get online

Improve your online skills if you don't feel very confident.

Free computer access - There are a number of venues who offer free access to computers in Sunderland.

Local training courses - There are a variety of courses available in Sunderland to help develop digital skills.

Training Websites -websites contain a range of online courses, tools, resources and games that will help develop your digital skills.

Find information on local services through Sunderland Information Point.

Further useful information can be found within our desk aid (pdf) and key messages (pdf) documents.

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