This page gives you advice about how to prepare for the introduction of Universal Credit. For more information, see the Universal Credit page.

Do you have an email address and mobile phone number?

You must have an email address to complete your Universal Credit claim. There’s some advice about setting up an email address in this guide. If you don’t have a mobile phone number, you will need to check your email regularly for messages from Universal Credit. If you have a mobile phone number you can get messages by text instead.

MoneySavingExpert has lots of tips on cutting the cost of a mobile phone.

Do you have an account that Universal Credit can be paid in to?

Before you can submit your claim for Universal Credit, you will need to provide details of your bank, building society, credit union or Post Office Card Account that your Universal Credit will be paid in to.

If your income is being swallowed up by bank charges, such as fees for an unauthorised overdraft or payments that have bounced, open a fee-free basic bank account for your Universal Credit payments. If you owe money to your bank and don’t know how to pay it back, a free debt advice service can help you sort it out.

Do you have proof of your identity?

After claiming Universal Credit, you will be asked to prove your identity using the Government’s online system, Verify. To use Verify, you must have a passport, driving licence or national identity card. If you can’t use Verify, you must provide proof of your identity to your Jobcentre Work Coach instead.

If you think you will be unable to provide proof of your identity, discuss it with your Work Coach as soon as possible. If you do not have the right documents, they can find other ways to confirm your identity.

Do you need help to get online?

If you don’t have the internet at home, there are lots of places in Portsmouth where you can get online for free.

If you have your own portable device, such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop, you can use it at one of the My City Wi-Fi free internet hotspots.

If you don’t have your own device, lots of places offer free computer access. You can find venues in this guide – it also lists places where you can get help to improve your computer skills.

Budgeting and managing your money

Universal Credit will combine six current benefits into a single monthly payment, so you might need to budget your money differently. Find more information about budgeting on our Money Advice page.

You can get free and impartial advice on how to maximise your income and manage your budget. Our guide has details of where to find help.

Will I be better off on Universal Credit?

To find out how your entitlement will change when you move to Universal Credit, use the Policy in Practice benefit calculator. This compares your entitlement under the current benefits with your entitlement under Universal Credit.

If you don’t understand your entitlement or how you will be affected by Universal Credit, our guide has details of where to find help.