Universal Credit

Universal Credit is being introduced across the country in stages. It is currently available for new claims for single jobseekers only. However, it will eventually involve anyone who claims housing benefit or other welfare benefits.

The job centres where it is going live for in the next 18 months in Lincolnshire:

Barton             October 2017

Scunthorpe     October 2017

Stamford         October 2017

Grantham        October 2017

Grimsby          December 2017

Boston             February 2018

Skegness        March 2018

Spalding          April 2018

Louth               May 2018

 

If you would like any information about how this may affect you please contact Katie or Marji.

On 01790 754219 or katie@lrha.co.uk, Marji@lrha.co.uk

Direct Payments

Universal Credit will be paid directly to one person in every household monthly, probably in arrears. So if you’re used to getting your housing benefit paid directly to your landlord, you’ll have to make new arrangements to make sure your rent is paid.

What should I do now? You’ll find it a lot easier to manage your Universal Credit if you have a bank account.

If you don’t have a bank account when Universal Credit is introduced you’ll be given your benefits via a Paypoint card that you can use at anywhere showing the Paypoint logo.

 

Basic Bank Accounts

Basic bank accounts are particularly designed for people with poor credit scores, who won’t pass the credit check for standard bank accounts. Because of this, past credit problems – such as CCJs, defaults, or having been declared bankrupt in the past year – aren’t usually a barrier.

However, you don’t have to have credit problems to open a basic bank account. If you want an account to help you manage your money and which won’t let you go overdrawn, you can also opt for one.

The only people who categorically can’t have a basic bank account are people with criminal convictions for fraud (people with other convictions can still apply and be accepted, subject to fulfilling the other account-opening criteria) or people who fail the bank’s ID checks.

You’ll need some form of identification to open a basic bank account – if you don’t have that, you might be rejected. This isn’t the bank being difficult; it needs to see certain specific documents to comply with money-laundering regulations.

Most banks will also do credit checks with credit reference agencies, though this is usually to check you are who you say you are – so don’t worry if you see a search on your credit file from the bank.

The ID you need to open a basic bank account

To confirm who you are, you’ll usually need one (original) of the following:

  • Full, current passport
  • Current European Union member state identity card
  • Current UK photocard driving licence or UK full paper driving licence
  • Identity card issued by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
  • Benefit books/benefit entitlement letters; includes pension, child benefit, income support, disability and jobseeker’s allowance
  • HMRC tax notification or assessment letterIf you can’t provide any of the accepted forms of ID on the list, it’s best to contact the bank to explain the situation.If you can’t get, or don’t want, a basic bank account, then there are some other alternatives you can try.
  • Alternatives to basic bank account?
  • If you’re struggling to provide these documents, there are other forms of ID you may be able to use.

Credit unions

A couple of credit unions across the UK now offer bank accounts, and most of these allow undischarged bankrupts to get them. You’ll usually have to pay a small joining fee (£2-£5/yr) and/or commit to keeping a certain balance in your account to be a member.

Lincolnshire Credit union contact number 01522 873550

Available weekdays 9am to 4pm.

Post Office Card Account

If you’re in receipt of certain Government benefits, pension or tax credits, and you don’t have a bank account for them to be paid into, then you can use a Post Office Card Account.

You’ll need to contact the office that pays your benefit as you can’t open these accounts directly. You’ll need proof of ID and address to get one of these accounts opened for you.

The Post Office Card Account is very basic – you get a card, and your benefits are paid onto that card. You can then use the card to withdraw cash, until the balance runs out. There’s no overdraft facility, and you can’t spend on the card or set up direct debits to be paid from the account.

There are a couple of bank accounts out there that don’t credit check, so are open to all.

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