Universal credit


Advance Payments and hardship payments

It will take approximately five to six weeks before you receive your first Universal Credit Payment.

If you do not have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment you can ask for an Advance Payment.

You can request an advance payment on your online UC account, or through your JCP work coach, or you can call the freephone helpline.

Prior to receiving your Advance UC payment, you will be asked to attend an appointment at your local Jobcentre.

You are able to request an advance payment equivalent to 100% of your estimated universal credit award. The advance payment can include help towards your housing costs (rent). If your advance payment includes a housing cost element please ensure you use this to pay your rent, otherwise you could put your tenancy agreement at risk.

Recovery of your advance payment will take place over 12 months. For example, if your advance payment is £720, then your future payments will be reduced by £60 each month for 12 months.

In addition to these deductions, you may also have third-party deductions for things like gas arrears, electricity, fines or rent arrears.

If you are experiencing financial hardship because of UC deductions you should speak to your work coach; add a journal entry for their attention, or contact a local advice agency.

Hardship Payments

If you are subject to a sanction and are unable to pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene, you can ask for a hardship payment. You should speak to your work coach about applying, or call the Universal Credit freephone helpline. Hardship payments are also recovered from ongoing universal credit payments.

Please also visit our Sanction information page.

If you have been sanctioned and you disagree with the decision you can ask for a mandatory reconsideration.