CLAIMANTS of Universal Credit in St Helens are being urged to take advantage of free budgeting advice to help them manage their money.

Benefits will now be paid every month, instead of weekly or fortnightly.

Sharon Riding, of Jobcentre Plus in St Helens, is urging claimants to get free and impartial advice to help them deal with the change.

Ms Riding said: “With Universal Credit benefit payments are paid directly into people’s bank accounts, and that’s why we’ve teamed up with the Money Advice Service to offer this free budgeting advice.

“Many people in St Helens and Newton-le-Willows will be finding themselves responsible for a monthly budget for the very first time, which is a big change if you’re used to getting your money every two weeks. It can seem daunting, but there is lots of free help available.”

Under Universal Credit housing benefit payments will also be included in a person’s monthly payment, so claimants will be responsible for managing housing costs themselves By managing a monthly budget while out of work, Ministers say people will be much more able to manage their money effectively when they move into employment.

Minister for Welfare Reform, David Freud said: “Universal Credit has sparked a cultural shift, which will break the cycle of benefit dependency that has become entrenched in the existing welfare system, and make work pay.

“St Helens and Newton-le-Willows Jobcentres and the Money Advice Service have joined forces to support new claimants to manage their money and budget effectively to mirror the world of work and plan for the future.”

Anyone interested in free budgeting advice should contact their Jobcentre Plus Work Coach.