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Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Ged Killen Ged Killen Labour/Co-operative, Rutherglen and Hamilton West

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the number of instances where universal credit claimants have not received universal credit payments due to being paid every four weeks rather than per calendar month.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The amount of Universal Credit paid reflects, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period, including any earnings reported by the employer during that assessment period, regardless of when they were paid. Monthly assessment is aligned to the way the majority of employees are paid and also allows Universal Credit to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit.

Some claimants are paid in differing patterns, including four-weekly, fortnightly, weekly or on a variable day every month, which may mean that for some months these claimants receive two or more sets of earnings during one Universal Credit assessment period (AP). This may reduce, or in some cases completely reduce the Universal Credit award the claimant receives that month.

We have produced guidance to help ensure claimants, staff and representatives are aware of the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles: this is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments-payment-cycles.

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