Universal credit

Universal Credit assessment periods

An assessment period is the timescale over which your Universal Credit (UC) entitlement is calculated. It starts on the first day of your entitlement to UC. Assessment periods run for one calendar month. You will receive your UC payment seven days after the end of each assessment period.

Assessment periods and UC payment dates will be different. These dates will be determined by your initial UC claim date.

Change in circumstances

If your circumstances change then it is your responsibility to note this on your UC Journal. It is important that all changes are updated on or before the last day of your assessment period; otherwise your next payment of UC may be wrong.

Changes which occur during an assessment period will not be applied ‘pro-rata’, they will be applied for the full month assessment period. So if, for example, you have a baby seven days before the end of your assessment period a ‘Child Element’ would be added to your award for the entire monthly assessment period and not just for the final week.

Another example would be if you moved house during the last week of your assessment period to a property with a lower rent. You are required to update your ‘housing costs’ information within the assessment period that the change occurs. In this scenario you would be paid a lower hosing cost element for that assessment period. Alternatively it could also mean that you can be paid more in housing costs if you move into a property with a higher rent charge.

Relevant dates in your Assessment Period

It is important that you keep yourself aware of the start and end dates of your assessment period and remember to report any changes. This will ensure that your UC award is correct each month.

In addition to this it is important, where possible, to consider the timing of changes in line with your assessment period because it can have a financial impact on the amount of UC you will receive. For example, if a qualifying young person leaves your household the day before the end of your monthly assessment period then you would lose the ‘child element’ for that monthly assessment period. If they left two days after the start of your monthly assessment period then you would receive the ‘child element’ for the whole of that monthly assessment period.

Employment and the Assessment Period

If you are in employment, the amount earned in your relevant monthly assessment period is taken into account and your following UC award will reflect this. UC will only take into account the actual amount of money you received through earnings during the relevant Assessment Period.

The vast majority of employed people who are in receipt of UC will have their earnings information automatically passed onto the Universal Credit office via HMRC’s Real Time Information (RTI) system. However, some people (e.g. those working for very small employers) may be required to submit wage details via their online UC account. Your employer will let you know if your earnings are reported into the HMRC Real Time Information system.

Self-employed claimants must also report their earnings. More information on UC and self-employment can be found on revenuebenefits.org.uk.

Supplying other evidence

At the end of each assessment period, you are required to confirm your circumstances haven’t changed.

If you report a change in circumstances then you’ll be asked to supply evidence.

Information, Advice and Support

If you have any queries about your assessment period speak to your Jobcentre Plus work coach. Additional help and support regarding Universal Credit is available from our welfare rights service or your local Citizens Advice Bureau.