Understanding how Universal Credit payments are made, when to expect your first payment, the assessment period, and options for those living in Scotland or Northern Ireland. We will also explain how to request changes to how you are paid.
How Universal Credit Payments are Made
Payments are made once a month, directly into your bank, building society, or credit union account.
Your payment may include your rent or other housing costs, which you will typically need to pay to your landlord.
Joint claims are paid together into one bank account.
You can request separate payments for you and your partner.
To view the payment breakdown, access your online account.
First Payment Timeline
Expect your first payment within 5-6 weeks after starting your claim.
If waiting for your first payment causes financial hardship, apply for an advance payment.
Understanding the Assessment Period
The assessment period is the time between Universal Credit payments.
Your initial assessment period begins on the day you submit your application.
The amount of Universal Credit you receive is calculated during the assessment period.
Example: If you make a new claim for Universal Credit on the 16th of March, your first assessment period will run until the 15th of April, with a new assessment period beginning on the 16th of April.
You are usually paid seven days after the qualifying period, so your payment date would be the 23rd of every month.
Payment Options in Scotland and Northern Ireland
In Scotland, recipients can choose to receive payments once or twice per month.
New claimants can select their preferred payment frequency after the first payment.
Existing recipients can ask their work coach to be paid twice per month.
Note: If you choose to be paid twice per month, your initial payment will be for one full month, followed by the first half of the subsequent month’s payment one month later.
The second half of the payment for the following month will be made 15 days after that.
There will be approximately a month and a half between your first payment and the full payment for your second month. Following this, you will be paid twice per month.
Requesting Changes to How You Are Paid
To request an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA), which can include:
- Arranging a separate payment from a joint claim
- Changing payment frequency to every 2 weeks
- Paying rent directly to your landlord
Contact Universal Credit or leave a note in your journal to apply for an APA.
Content Updated 27/04/2023
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