11 reasons your next universal credit payment might be lower than you expected and how to check
There are currently 5.2 million households in the UK claiming universal credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which equates to some 5.9 million people receiving regular benefits to help cover costs of daily living.
And while the focus is still on removing the Â£ 20 per week increase in universal credit which ended in October and provided people with additional financial support of Â£ 1,500 since its introduction in March of the In the past year, many applicants may not be aware that there are also several reasons why the DWP might be deducting money from their monthly payment.
Simply put, money can be taken out of your benefit payment if you are in debt.
However, applicants will be able to see it on their universal credit statement. To find your statement, log into your online account and go to “Payments” and on your statement search for “What we take – deductions”.
But if you’re wondering what types of debt can be collected from your Universal Credit Payment, we’ve outlined them below, however, full advice can be found on the GOV.UK website here.
Types of debt
1. Advance payments
This is your reimbursement of an advance from CrÃ©dit Universel.
2. Universal credit overpayment
This is when you have received too much universal credit. To learn more about your overpayment, log into your online universal credit account, go to your journal, and look for an overpayment message.
The DWP Guide adds, âIf you think you’ve been overpaid but haven’t heard from Universal Credit, you should contact Universal Credit to let them know.
3. Overpayment of benefits
It’s when you’ve been overpaid for anything other than universal credit. It includes tax credits and housing allowance overpayments.
DWP warns that penalties may be added to an overpayment of benefits.
He said, âIf you think you’ve been overpaid but haven’t heard from DWP, you should report it immediately. Otherwise, you could be sued or have to pay a fine. “
If you have been overpaid, you will have a journal or letter explaining what the overpayment is for.
4. Recoverable hardship payment
You can request a hardship payment if your Universal Credit payment has been reduced due to a fraud penalty or sanction.
You will need to repay this amount once your fraud penalty or sanction has ended. DWP states that âonce the amount you reimburse has been agreed upon, it cannot be changedâ.
5. Budgeting and repayment of crisis loans
This is your repayment of a budget or crisis loan. The amount you repay is agreed upon when you accept the loan.
Other debts you owe
These are known as third party deductions and are taken from your universal credit to pay off other debts.
6. Utilities such as electricity, gas and water
7. Housing tax
10. Service charges
11. Judicial fines
It is important to know that only three third party deductions can be taken at a time.
Universal Credit will send you a message in your online journal when a third-party deduction begins.
How much will be taken from your Universal Credit payment?
Universal Credit calculates the amount withdrawn from your payment at the end of each assessment period – one calendar month.
The amount withdrawn may change if:
- Income change
- Other benefits are changing
The DWP guide explains, âIt is not possible to tell you how much will be taken before this calculation takes place.
âNormally, the maximum you can take out of your payment is 25% of your standard universal credit allowance. “
This is the basic amount you are entitled to, before money for things like child care and housing costs is added.
You can have more than 25% of your standard allowance withdrawn if you pay a âlast resort deductionâ.
A âlast resort deductionâ helps prevent you from being evicted or having your utilities cut off. It is paid directly to the person or organization to whom you owe money.
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What to do if you are having trouble paying off your debt
If you are having difficulty, you can apply for a financial hardship ruling to reduce the amount of benefit debt you are paying.
You may be considered for this if you have money withdrawn from your universal loan for:
- Benefit debt
- Budgeting the loan and repaying the crisis loan
- Rent arrears – if taken at a rate greater than 10% of the standard allowance
If a decision is made to reduce the amount you pay, it will automatically be applied to your next Universal Credit Review period.
Find out who to contact about money withdrawn from your Universal Credit payment on the GOV.UK website here.
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