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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL12540, tabled on 7 January 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government how are the salaries of employees on Universal Credit who are paid twice within a month, in particular over the Christmas period, being treated for the purposes of benefits payments; and what steps are being taken to prevent such employees being disadvantaged.

Answered on

21 January 2019

Universal Credit payments reflect, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period. Assessment periods allow for Universal Credit awards to be adjusted on a monthly basis, ensuring that if a claimant’s income falls, they do not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit award.

Some claimants receive earnings from work multiple times within an assessment period if they are paid via four-weekly, fortnightly, or weekly patterns. This in turn may reduce, or in some cases, nil the Universal Credit award the claimant receives that month. Claimants can always discuss the implications of this with their case managers and work coaches and can be referred to Personal Budgeting Support to help them manage their budgeting.

If a claimant’s Universal Credit claim is closed due to this, claimants can re-claim the following month via a more simplified process than for an initial claim. 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, which is attached with this reply.

The Government is working with employers to ensure that they use the most appropriate payment practices and comply with RTI guidelines in order to minimise the incidence of erroneous or late reporting by employers. HMRC have recently updated guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.