How and when is Universal Credit paid?
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will usually pay your Universal Credit into your bank account, building society or credit union account once a month.
Your Universal Credit payment can include an amount for housing, which you will be required to pay directly to your landlord.
If you are unable to open a bank account, building society or credit union account, you can call the Universal Credit helpline (0800 328 5644) to arrange an alternative way of getting your Universal Credit paid.
How Universal Credit will be paid for couples?
If you are claiming Universal Credit as a couple, you will receive one monthly household payment.
If you claim as a couple, you can choose which of your accounts to get the Universal Credit paid in – you may have a joint account, and you can get the money paid into here.
In exceptional circumstances, you can request for your Universal Credit payment to be divided between the two of you - known as a split payment. The amount you receive will depend on your circumstances.
You can request for your Universal Credit to be split if:
- One of you struggle to manage your money, and it's causing you both financial difficulty.
- It's in the interest of a child you are responsible for.
- If you receive an element of Universal Credit as a carer for a severely disabled person, and it's more helpful for them to be paid separately.
- There is financial abuse in your household, e.g. Gambling problems, theft, compulsive spending e.t.c.
- There is domestic violence in your household.
When will I get my first Universal Credit payment?
Once you apply, it will usually take five weeks for you to receive your first Universal Credit payment.
Your Universal Credit claim is assessed and paid in arrears every month. The five-week wait before your first Universal Credit payment consists of a four week assessment period and up to seven days for the amount to reach your account.
Your first Universal Credit assessment period will start on the date that you make your claim.
If you are struggling with money while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advanced payment of Universal Credit.
If you're self-employed, you are required to report your earnings each month before being paid. Find out more about Universal Credit when self-employed.
Example of when you will receive your first Universal Credit payment
The table below shows an example of when you will receive your first Universal Credit payment:
|New claim made||June 1st|
|First assessment period||June 1st-June 30th|
|First payment||July 7th|
When will I be paid Universal Credit?
After you receive your first Universal Credit payment, you will be paid on the same date every month.
If your scheduled payday falls on a weekend or bank holiday, you will receive your payment earlier - usually on the last working day before the weekend or bank holiday.
If your payment date is on the 29th, 30th or 31st of a month and the current month has fewer days, you will be paid on the last day of the current month.
You will receive a monthly statement that explains how much Universal Credit you will receive for that assessment period.
Will my Universal Credit be affected if my employer pays me more than once a month?
Your Universal Credit payment can be affected by how often your employer pays you if you're paid monthly.
For instance, if you're paid weekly, every two weeks or every four weeks, you'll receive more than one set of wages during some Universal Credit assessment periods.
This could result in your earnings being too high for you to claim Universal Credit. The DWP will inform you if you have reached the Universal Credit limit and if you need to reapply to continue to receive Universal Credit payments.
Can I get paid Universal Credit more frequently if I'm struggling for money?
If you find yourself struggling to manage your finances monthly and are left with little to no money before you are paid your next Universal Credit payment, you may be able to request to be paid more frequently.
You can apply for Personal budgeting support which will allow you to be paid weekly or fortnightly. Also, try our Universal Credit Money Manager tool.
What to do if my Universal Credit hasn't been paid?
You should always receive your Universal Credit on time, however, if you haven't been paid your Universal Credit you can call the following free helpline:
- Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday)
- Textphone for those with hearing problems: 0800 328 1344 (8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday)
You won't be able to speak to benefits staff on a weekend or a Bank Holiday.
What can I claim while waiting for my Universal Credit payment?
Universal Credit is typically paid once a month in a single payment. However, If you can't manage during the five-week wait for the first payment, or until your next payment, there are several options available to help you:
- Personal budgeting support.
- Universal Credit advance.
- Local welfare provision.
- Food banks.
Personal budgeting support
If you're regularly struggling for money before your next Universal Credit payment, you may be able to claim personal budgeting support. This means you can get:
- Advice and support on how to manage your money each month
- The housing element of your UC paid directly to your landlord
- Have your Universal Credit payment split so you receive them more frequently such as weekly or fortnightly.
The DWP decide whether to give you personal budgeting support on a case-by-case basis.
The DWP do however acknowledge that people with mental illnesses are more likely to need personal budgeting support.
If your mental health affects your ability to manage your money, you should tell the DWP and ask them to for personal budgeting support.
Universal Credit Advance payment
If you can't manage during the five-week wait for the first payment, you may be able to get a Universal Credit advance.
This is an upfront ''loan'' for a part or all of your first Universal Credit payment which is designed to help you during the transition period.
The Universal Credit advance payment will be paid back through automatic deductions on your following Universal Credit payments until the amount has been paid back in full.
Local Welfare Provision
Find your local Welfare Provision, which is set up to help vulnerable people in short-term crisis with free food and essential items.
Local Welfare Provision is set up by your local authority. You can find out who your local authority is here and contact them for details of local welfare provision.
Food banks offer emergency food to people who cannot buy food for themselves. Find your local food bank.
How to backdate Universal Credit payment
You can apply to backdate a Universal Credit payment for the month before you claimed. However, you will need a good reason as to why you didn't claim previously such as:
- An illness - the DWP will request medical evidence.
- A physical or mental health disability.
- You weren't informed your Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was ending.
- You've made a new claim as a single person after breaking up with your partner.
- The DWP gave you the wrong information.
To start a backdated Universal Credit claim call the following free helpline:
- Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday).
- Textphone for those with hearing problems: 0800 328 1344 (8 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday).
You won't be able to speak to benefits staff on a weekend or a Bank Holiday.
Universal Credit Mental Health Guide
Introduction to Universal Credit
- Introduction to Universal Credit
How will moving to Universal Credit affect you
- What benefits is Universal Credit replacing?
- How will Universal Credit affect Child Tax Credits?
- How will Universal Credit affect Working Tax Credits?
- How will Universal Credit affect my Income Support?
- How will Universal Credit affect my ESA?
- How will Universal credit affect Housing Benefit?
- How will Universal Credit affect Council Tax?
Help with your Universal Credit claim
- How to apply for Universal Credit
- How to fill in your Universal Credit application form
- How to reapply for Universal Credit
- What is the Universal Credit Claimant Commitment?
- How to claim Universal credit with a mental health condition
- How to prepare for your Universal Credit Work Capability Assessment
- How to claim Universal Credit when working
- How to claim Universal Credit when self employed
- How to claim Universal Credit as a student?
- Help if you already claim Universal Credit
- Universal Credit sanctions
- Challenging a Universal Credit decision
- Universal Credit resources