Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 12 November 2020.

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Photo of Nadia Whittome Nadia Whittome Labour, Nottingham East

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants had deductions made to their monthly payment in the most recent month for which figures are available.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

New claimants do not have to wait for their first regular Universal Credit payment if they need up front support. All new UC claimants are able to request a new claim advance during the first assessment period of up to 100% of their estimated monthly award. Advances can be repaid over the following year, allowing new claimants to receive 13 payments during the year instead of 12. We are extending the maximum repayment period to two years from October 2021 to reduce the impact of taking an advance even further, and the reduction of the deductions cap from 30% to 25%.

For Universal Credit claims due a payment during August 2020, 41% (1,847,000 claims) had a deduction (excluding sanctions and fraud penalties).

  • 26% had only advance repayments,
  • 10% had advance repayments and deductions for other debts (e.g. third party deductions),
  • 5% had only deductions for other debts.

For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.


  • Other debts include Universal Credit third party deductions and all other deductions, but exclude sanctions and fraud penalties which are reductions of benefit rather than deductions.
  • Figures rounded to nearest 1,000.
  • Deductions for benefit overpayments were temporarily suspended for three months from the beginning of April due to Covid.
  • Figures are provisional and are subject to retrospective change as later data becomes available.

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