Advice Column: Universal Credit Help

Thursday 20th September

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column we focus on the help available to Universal Credit claimants

 I read that Universal Credit is due to be fully launched in Exeter this month. What help is available to claimants?

Universal Credit is a new benefit which combines six benefits into one, including Jobseeker’s Allowance and Working Tax Credits. It is currently being rolled out across the UK, and the full service will be introduced in Exeter on the 26th September 2018. Once Universal Credit has been fully implemented in Exeter by 2023, 11,500 people are expected to receive it.

Universal Credit is the biggest-ever change to the benefit system, so it’s important people get support while they get used to it. Last year, the government made a number of changes to Universal Credit to help people avoid financial difficulty while they wait for their first payment. This includes the removal of the seven waiting days before a claimant can apply for Universal Credit.

 To help people prepare for Universal Credit, it is important to understand how it differs to previous benefits. There are three key changes that people need to be aware of:


  1. Universal Credit payments are made in arrears once a month, rather than every week. The date you get paid will depend on when you make your claim.


  1. Payments will go straight into your bank account. This means you may need to set up standing orders for expenses, like rent, if it was paid directly to your landlord under the old benefits system.


  1. New Universal Credit applications, and any change in your circumstances, need to be made

For further help or advice about claiming Universal Credit, visit

Look out for our column next week when we focus on problems with holiday bookings.

The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date version, please visit