Home World News How often is Universal Credit paid and can you change it? These...

How often is Universal Credit paid and can you change it? These are the rules

0
17
What are the DWP's PIP rates for 2020 to 2021? Full list of what you should get

Universal Credit is a new benefit for those who are on a low income or out of work.

But how often is it paid, and is there any way to alter that?

The DWP says that if you have lost your job or are working reduced hours you may be able to claim Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (New Style JSA), New Style Employment and Support Allowance (New Style ESA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

The good news is that New Style JSA and New Style ESA can be claimed on their own or at the same time as Universal Credit, so they advise applying for Universal Credit anyway, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support.

How often Universal Credit is paid

You have to wait around five weeks for your first Universal Credit and after that it is usually paid once a month on the same date, if you are England and Wales.

The monthly pay date will generally be the same date you received your first payment of the benefit.

Due dates can vary if they happen to fall on a weekend or bank holiday in a particular month – as will happen for some people with Universal Credit payment dates over the August Bank Holiday.

Claimants in Scotland have the option of being twice a month rather than monthly.

In Northern Ireland, Universal Credit is normally paid to a household twice a month.

Can you change how often you’re paid?

The DWP said: “Universal Credit (UC) prepares claimants for the world of work in which 75 per cent of employees are paid monthly. It also encourages claimants to take responsibility for their own financial affairs.

“To that end, Universal Credit is paid in a single monthly sum to households who are expected to manage their own budgets.”

This move to a single monthly household payment is a significant change to the way most benefits are currently paid.

In instances where it is identified that a claimant is finding it difficult to budget monthly, they can have their Universal Credit divided over the month to be paid more frequently – either twice monthly or, in exceptional cases, four times a month.

In cases where Universal Credit includes housing costs, the DWP would also arrange to pay rent straight to the landlord to safeguard the claimant’s home.

So in some cases, the Department for Work and Pensions will allow the payment frequency to be changed.

This is called an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

These arrangements are for those claimants who cannot manage their single monthly payment and where there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant and/or their family.

Alternative Payment Arrangements come in three types

  • paying housing costs of Universal Credit as a Managed Payment (MP) direct to the landlord
  • more frequent than monthly payments
  • split payment of an award between partners

How to get an Alternative Payment Arrangement

An Alternative Payment Arrangement can be considered at any point during the Universal Credit claim.

The need for such a change may be identified at the outset by a work coach, or case manager, or at any time during the claim, such as if the claimant is struggling with the single monthly payment.

They can also be triggered by information received from the claimant, their representative or their landlord.

APA will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A claimant can have one or more APA based on their individual circumstances.

Universal Credit staff make the decision whether to award an APA taking account of numerous factors.

The DWP looks at such things as:

  • is the claimant managing to pay their bills on time, particularly their rent, and have they fallen into arrears in the past, or are they currently in arrears?
  • do they think they will be able to manage a monthly budget, taking account of their income and outgoings over a calendar month?
  • if the claimant is part of a couple, are they used to managing their money together and do they think they will be able to manage the single Universal Credit payment to the household?
  • is the claimant vulnerable (maybe they have addiction problems or are previously homeless)?

The Alternative Payment Arrangement personal factors taken into consideration by officials include the following:

  • addiction problems
  • rent arrears
  • mental health issues
  • learning difficulties
  • previously homeless

If the claimant is making the request for an Alternative Payment Arrangement, this can either be:

  • via their online Universal Credit account (they use their account to report changes, send messages to their work coach and find support)
  • during meetings and conversations with their work coach/case manager
  • by phoning Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644

These alternative arrangements are regularly reviewed, usually every three months, to decide if the claimant is now capable of managing a single monthly payment.

.

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here