Normally, Universal Credit...
- Will get paid to you monthly (that’s a calendar month, not every four weeks like some other benefits);
- Will include any help you need with rent: the DWP will expect you to pay this on to your landlord;
- If you are a couple, will only be paid to one of you;
- Will normally have to be claimed online.
The bad news is that you'll need to convince them to use this power for you.
The different ways of getting paid are called alternative payment arrangements (or sometimes payment exceptions).
Getting paid more frequently, and getting the rent paid direct to your landlord
|This help should be considered by the DWP if you genuinely cannot manage the standard monthly repayment and where there is a risk of financial harm to you or your family.|
The government thinks that you are very likely to need extra support if you of the following list of problems apply to you:
- Drug, alcohol, gambling, or other addition problems;
- Learning difficulties including problems with literacy or numeracy;
- Severe or multiple debt problems;
- In temporary or supported accommodation;
- Domestic violence or domestic abuse;
- Mental health problems;
- Rent arrears, including facing eviction;
- Under 18 or leaving care;
- Part of a family with multiple and complex needs.
The government thinks that you are less likely to need extra support, but might still need it, if you of the following list of problems apply to you:
- No bank account;
- You have deductions being made from your benefits (for gas arrears, for example);
- You are a refugee or asylum seeker (although most asylum seekers aren't entitled to Universal Credit anyway);
- History of rent arrears;
- Previously homeless or in supported accommodation;
- Some other disability (i.e. something that isn't a mental health problem);
- Just left prison;
- Just left hospital;
- Recently bereaved;
- Language difficulties (e.g. English not your first language);
- Ex-service personnel (i.e. ex-army etc)
- 'NEET'- not in education, employment, or training (I'm not sure what
this one means here: most people will only be claiming Universal
Credit if this applies to them!)
Unfortunately, you cannot just go to the Jobcentre Plus and tell them that you need to be paid more frequently, or need the rent money paid directly to your landlord, and assume this is going to happen.
Remember that the government expects to pay most people in the normal
way. You will need to convince them that you need the extra support.
And, also unfortunately...
is no right of appeal against a decision not to pay you more
frequently, or to pay rent directly to your landlord
You can, however, complain if you feel that they have not taken your case seriously.
If you want to look into this more closely, have a look at the DWP's guidance on personal budgeting support, at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/181400/personal-budgeting-support-guidance.pdf
Getting payments split
This might apply to you if you are part of a couple, but your partner keeps all the money and give none of it to you.
Again, there is no right of appeal if the DWP does not agree that the payments should be split.
Claiming Universal Credit by phone rather than online
Guidance to the DWP says 'telephone claims will be accepted from claimants who do not have access to or cannot use a computer'. So if this applies to you, you need to make sure you tell them. You will probably have to be persistent - the telephone menus that the Jobcentre Plus provide are unlikely to make this easy.
Again, there is no right of appeal if they do not agree to do this, though you do have the right to complain.