How is Universal Credit paid?

Last updated: 22/03/2022

Universal Credit is paid monthly in arrears. The amount you get is based on your circumstances in the month before you get your payment. You will receive your first payment of Universal Credit into your bank account 5 weeks after you claim. This is your payment date. You will then get payments on the same date of the month but can ask for payments to be made twice per month.

If your payment date is on the 29th, 30th or 31st of a month, you will be paid on the last day of the month.

Twice monthly payments

In Scotland, you have a choice on how you are paid Universal Credit. It can be paid twice a month or monthly. You will be offered the choice through your Universal Credit online account after you have received your first payment.

For more details visit Scottish Government Choices.


Housing costs direct to landlords

In Scotland you can ask that your housing costs are paid directly to your landlord. You can request this in your Universal Credit online account. The DWP will contact your landlord to arrange this.

If the housing cost element in your Universal Credit award is less than your full rent, then you must continue paying the difference to your landlord yourself.

The DWP will leave a message in your online journal to let you know that this has been set up. It is important that you keep paying your rent until you have confirmation of this from the DWP.

Related information

Universal credit helpline: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Lone Parent Helpline: 0808 801 0323

Advance payments

Universal Credit Advance

If you do not have enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment of Universal Credit you can ask for a Universal Credit Advance. This is a loan you need to pay back. It will be deducted from your next 24 Universal Credit payments.

How much is it?

The maximum advance you can get is your monthly estimated Universal Credit amount.

How the Universal Credit Advance is repaid

The Universal Credit Advance is a loan and has to be repaid. There is no interest added to the advance so the amount you borrow is what you repay.

The Universal Credit Advance is paid back over 24 months. Repayments are taken from your monthly Universal Credit starting from the payment after you get the advance.

If you stop getting Universal Credit, before you have paid off the advance, deductions can be made from other benefits you receive. If you stop receiving benefits you will be contacted by DWP Debt Management Centre to arrange how you will pay off the remainder of your advance.

If you do not make arrangements to pay back  the advance, DWP can contact your employer to arrange deductions from your earnings or use a debt collecting service to collect repayments.

How do I apply for it?

You should ask for a Universal Credit Advance at your first Universal Credit interview or by calling the free Universal Credit Helpline.


Change of circumstances

Changes in your circumstances may alter your monthly Universal Credit payment.

These changes can include:

  • Starting or leaving work
  • Moving home
  • Your rent going up or down
  • Having a baby

A change of circumstances takes effect from the beginning of the month in which it occurs. This can result in an increase or decrease in the amount of Universal Credit you receive.

It is your responsibility to report a change of circumstance promptly, but it may benefit you to bring forward or delay changes where possible.