How much can be taken from your payments
The most that can be taken from your Universal Credit payments each month is 25 percent of your Universal Credit Standard Allowance (the basic amount of Universal Credit you are entitled to, before extra money for things like childcare and housing costs is added) unless last resort deductions are being taken.
In this case, your deductions may be more than 25 percent of your Standard Allowance.
If you are part of a joint claim for Universal Credit, you and your partner will receive a joint Universal Credit payment for your household, paid twice a month.
If you or your partner have debts or deductions, these will be taken from your Universal Credit payments before you get them.
Reducing your deductions because of financial hardship
If you do not have enough money to live on because of deductions from your Universal Credit payments, you can ask for a ‘financial hardship decision’ to reduce your deductions.
Universal Credit will consider this if deductions are being taken from your Universal Credit payments for:
- repaying Tax Credit overpayments
- paying off benefit debt
- repaying a Social Fund loan, or
- paying off rent arrears.
If Universal Credit decide to reduce your deductions, the new reduced deductions will apply from the start of your next Universal Credit assessment period.
When you are earning enough money again, your deductions will go back up to the normal amount.
Deductions taken first
If your total deductions would be more than 25 percent of your Universal Credit Standard Allowance, deductions will be made in the following order of priority
- fraud penalties
- Universal Credit advance after a new claim or change of circumstances
- Universal Credit advance after transferring from another benefit
- budgeting advance
Any other deductions will be taken in the following order of priority
- housing costs
- rent or service charges included in rent (at five percent of your standard allowance)
- fuel arrears (gas and /or electricity)
- rates arrears
- water charges arrears
- child maintenance
- social fund loans
- hardship payments
- housing benefit and Department for Communities administrative penalties
- housing benefit, tax credit and Department for Communities fraud overpayments
- housing benefit, tax credit and Department for Communities normal overpayments
- integration loan arrears
If a new debt is a higher priority than an existing one, Universal Credit can stop one deduction and set up a new one.