Managing Universal Credit payments
UC payments are made monthly in arrears and include rent payments. Find out how to best manage payments for your circumstances
How often will I be paid Universal Credit?
Universal Credit will be paid in arrears every month straight into your bank account. This means that you need to make a monthly budget to make sure that you can afford essential payments such as your rent.
How will I be paid Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is usually paid directly into your bank or other account on a monthly basis. Your monthly payments may include an amount for housing costs.
Managing monthly payments
Your monthly Universal Credit payment is intended to cover all your bills such as your rent/mortgage, gas and electricity as well as your day to day living expenses. Some people may find this difficult to manage.
What can I do to manage my payments?
Managing your monthly Universal Credit payments may be more difficult for some people than others. If you're used to a monthly salary then you may have no issues however if you have been used to a weekly or fortnightly payment or if your rent or mortgage costs were previously paid direct to your landlord/lender then you may experience difficulties with the change. You may find the following helpful:
Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA)
In some circumstances you may be able to request an Alternative Payment Arrangement, often called an APA. An APA can mean:
- That the housing costs element of your Universal Credit is paid straight to your landlord.
- That your Universal Credit is paid more frequently than monthly.
- That your payments can be split between you and someone else (usually your partner).
You can apply for an APA by completing a Request for an Alternative Payment Arrangement Form [309Kb].
You can be considered for an APA if you or your partner:
- are in rent arrears
- are in debt
- live in temporary or supported accommodation
- have learning difficulties, such as problems with reading, writing or maths
- are homeless, or have been homeless before
- have a mental health condition
- have drug, alcohol or gambling addiction
- have experienced domestic abuse
- are young and leaving care
- are aged 16 or 17
- don't have a bank account
- are a refugee or an asylum seeker
- have a disability
- have just left prison
- have just left hospital
- have difficulty speaking or understanding English
- have had a recent bereavement
- have been in the armed forces
Scottish UC Flexibilities
Please note that this option applies to Full Service Universal Credit (FSUC) claimants only who made their claim on or after 4th October 2017. These new options will be available from early January 2018 to existing UC claimants in Full Service areas who applied before 4th October 2017.
What are Scottish UC Flexibilities?
An option for claimants who made their claim for FSUC in Scotland and who can make a request to:
- Have their UC payments made twice monthly and/or
- Have their housing costs, in respect of rent, paid directly to their landlord
FSUC claimants should be prompted via text or email following their first UC payment to request UC Flexibilities as detailed above.
Scottish UC Flexibilities can only be requested once you have received your first UC payment and only if:
- you made your FSUC claim in Scotland and
- you do not have an APA in place
How to request UC Flexibilities
FSUC claimants should simply make a request for Scottish UC Flexibilities via their "Journal". Please note that there is no right of appeal if Scottish UC Flexibilities are refused.
More information on Scottish UC Flexibilities can be found in the Scottish Government UC Scottish flexibilities information leaflet [211Kb] and UC Scottish flexibilities further information [256Kb] publications.
Debt and money advice
Perth & Kinross Council's Welfare Rights Team provides a basic debt advice service. Phone the Advice Line for more information on 01738 476900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perth Citizens Advice Bureau provides a comprehensive debt and money advice service including advice on bankruptcy, Trust Deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Phone them on 01738 450581 for an appointment.
There is also a lot of useful information about debt and money on the Citizens Advice Scotland website.
The Money Advice Service also provides free, confidential and independent advice on a broad range of financial matters including money advice, debt, home insurance and other financial products and services, including bank accounts.
The Money Advice Service provides online tools and budget planners which can provide support to frontline staff and Universal Credit claimants who are able to use the self service tools.
The Council's can provide support and assistance with budgeting and financial education.
Perth and Kinross Credit Union can help you save and also offers low cost loans.
Making a complaint
If you are not happy about the service you have received from Universal Credit including how you have been treated, mistakes that have been made, unreasonable delays or not being kept informed you can complain online.