Universal Credit may be paid early this month due to payment date changes - are you affected?

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Universal Credit payments will be early for people expecting payments on December 23-26

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 02/12/2023

- 07:00

The Universal Credit payment date changes are temporary, and won't affect all recipients

Universal Credit recipients may get the payment earlier than they usually would in December 2023 as the payment date will temporarily change for some people.

This is due to the bank holidays which will fall on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will make payments due on these days early, on the first working day prior.

As the December 25 and December 26 bank holidays fall on a Monday and Tuesday, it means payments due on these dates would instead land in accounts on Friday December 22.

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It means a person who was expecting the money on the 26th would get the money four days early.

While early payments may well be welcomed ahead of Christmas, it will then mean they have a longer wait than usual until their next payment arrives in January, so people may want to adjust their budgets.

Universal Credit is paid once per month, usually into the claimant's bank, building society or credit union account.

It usually takes around five weeks to get the first payment after claiming.

If a person needs money while they wait for their first payment, it's possible to apply for an advance, but it's really important to be aware that this needs to be paid back, starting with instalments from the first payment.

The advance will usually need to be repaid within 24 months, and it would mean the actual amount a person gets each month would be less than the claim amount while the advance is being repaid.

Universal Credit is calculated based on the person's circumstances each month - known as "assessment periods".

The first assessment period starts on the day a person makes a claim.

Claimants usually get the Universal Credit payment seven days after each monthly assessment period ends.

If there is a change in circumstances, it could affect how much a person is paid for their assessment period.

Following the first payment, which is typically five weeks after the first claim is made, recipients will be paid on the same date of every month.

If the payment date falls on a weekend or bank holiday, the money will be paid on the working day before it.

The rules are different in Scotland, as people can get paid once or twice a month.

People making a new claim can state which option they prefer, and they will get this after their first payment.

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