I’ve heard that Universal Credit is going to be cut from September. I struggle to get by as it is and I’m really worried that if I lose £20 a week, I’ll get into serious debt. I’m already behind on some of my bills. What can I do to avoid things getting worse?

Posted: 11th August 2021

You’re certainly not alone in this, and there is support available.

Firstly, depending on your situation, you could ask to have your Universal Credit paid differently. This might be an option if you’re in debt or rent arrears. To apply for an ‘alternative payment arrangement’, call the Universal Credit helpline on: 0800 328 5644

Now make a list of how much you owe and add up how much you need to pay each month. 

You need to prioritise your debts as rent or mortgage arrears, energy bills and council tax are your priority debts because there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them.

Be sure to get in touch with those you owe money to. Many organisations have put in place protections for people who’ve struggled to pay their bills during the pandemic, letting you pay smaller amounts or taking a payment ‘holiday’.

The government-backed Breathing Space scheme could also give you extra time.  You get 60 days where your creditors can’t contact you or take action against you. You’ll need to get advice from a debt adviser first – they’ll check to see if they’re covered by the scheme.

Finally, it’s always good to have a budget – there’s a budgeting tool on our website and do make sure you’re getting all the income you’re entitled to.

If you need more specific support or don’t feel able to manage your situation alone, call Suffolk Adviceline on 0808 278 7868 to speak to a Citizens Advice West Suffolk adviser or go to contact us for email advice