Universal Credit (UC) is paid on a calendar monthly basis and this payment will include any help you are entitled to towards your housing costs and for children if you have children who are dependent on you.
When will you get your first payment?
There is no payment of UC during the first 7 days of the claim. These are called waiting days. There are some groups of people who don’t have to wait 7 days and these are mostly people who have recently claimed another benefit and people who are in exceptional circumstances. The full list of these people is:
- You were claiming Universal Credit as a couple and are now claiming as single
- You were claiming Universal Credit as single and are now claiming as a couple
- You claimed Universal Credit within the last 6 months but your claim ended because you earned too much
- You are terminally ill
- You have been the victim of domestic violence within the last 6 months
- You are a carer
- You are 16 or 17 years old and have no parental support
- You have left prison in the last month
- You were entitled to Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Contribution based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) within the last 3 months
- You were entitled to income related JSA, ESA or Income Support within the last 3 months and stopped claiming to start working
- You were entitled to income related JSA, ESA or Income Support within the last month
- You were entitled to Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit or Housing Benefit within the last month
The assessment period then runs from the end of the 7 day waiting period (if applied) for a calendar month. The payment is generally not made until 7 days after the end of this month.
You claim Universal Credit on 1st March and you have a 7 day waiting period applied to you. Your first date of entitlement will be 8th March and your first month’s assessment period will end on 7th April. You will probably receive your payment on 14th April. In other words the waiting period until you get your first payment will usually be 6 to 7 weeks.
You need to decide early on whether you will have enough money to last until this payday. If you do not have enough money to last you can ask for an advance payment and it would be best to do this at your claimant commitment interview. You have to ask for the advance payment within the first month. The DWP guidance states you need to make the request more than 3 days before the end of the month but the law does not state this so you can challenge this if you need to. You should seek advice if you are told you claimed the advance payment too late.
Following reports of increases in rent arrears, homelessness and foodbank use among claimants moving on to Universal Credit the government have now announced (October 2017) that they will make advance payments easier to claim and also make them available more quickly. There is no details as yet about how exactly this will work. If you need an advance payment you can contact the Job Centre at any stage after making your claim and ask for a payment. If you are refused you shoudl seek advice.