How universal credit is paid
The assessment period for universal credit is one calendar month.
Your first assessment period for universal credit starts 7 days after you claim. You do not receive your first payment until after this first assessment period has ended.
This means you will have just over 5 weeks to wait for your first payment. You will get future payments of UC after each assessment period on the same date of the month. If your payment date is on the 29, 30 or 31 of a month, you will be paid on the last day of the month.
For example: If your assessment period began on the 15th of the month, then each assessment period for you will begin on the 15th of the month.
Your personal circumstances will be assessed to work out the amount of universal credit you are entitled to for the month.
Twice monthly payments
As part of the new social security powers in Scotland, you now have a choice on how you are paid universal credit. It can be paid twice a month or monthly, and the housing element can be paid directly to you or your landlord.
You will be offered the new choice through your universal credit online account following your first payment. See Scottish Choices.
If you don’t have enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment you might be able to get an advance payment. This payment is a loan and you need to pay it back over a 12 month period. You must show that you are in financial need to get the payment.
The maximum advance is what you’ll get in your monthly universal credit award. You will need to repay the advance from your future universal credit payments.
You should request an advance at your UC interview or by calling one of the free universal credit helpline numbers:
- Live service area – 0800 328 9344
- Full service area – 0800 328 5644
Changes in your circumstances
Changes in your circumstances during an assessment period may alter your final 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 assessment period in which it occurs. This can result in an increase or decrease of universal credit for you. Here are some examples:
You have a baby one day before the end of your assessment period. The child allowance will be included in her UC award for the whole month.
Your child leaves your household one day before the end of your assessment period. You will lose the child allowance for the whole of the month. If your son/daughter had left one day later, you would have got the full monthly allowance for her/him.
Your entitlement to UC ends four weeks into your assessment period because you receive income or capital. You will receive no UC for the whole month.
It is your responsibility to report a change of circumstance on time. If you receive an overpayment of at least £65.01, as a result of not reporting a change, you could be fined £50 or prosecuted by the DWP.