Universal Credit: This is how the DWP works out payment amounts – how much could you get?

Universal Credit payments will vary from person to person as they’re based on specific circumstances. As an example, the amount paid out can be altered if the claimant has certain health conditions or is raising children.


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While there will be a lot of variation in Universal Credit payments, all claimants are guaranteed to receive a “standard allowance” as a minimum.

There are currently four allowances in place:

  • £342.72 for single claimants under 25
  • £409.89 for single claimants 25 or over
  • £488.59 for claimants in a couple and both are under 25 (for both)
  • £594.04 for claimants in a couple and either of them are 25 or over (for both)

Beyond these minimum payments, a specific calculation is used to work out what the claimant will receive.

The government will start by working out the claimant’s maximum amount which is made up of the standard allowance and any additional amounts that apply to them (for example, for housing costs).

Once this figure has been calculated, deductions will be made from it based on their financial situation, which could include income levels and savings.

Finally, the benefit cap is factored in which could reduce the payment furthe

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The final result after these calculations is what the claimant should receive from their Universal Credit payments.

Universal Credit is usually paid once a month into a bank, building society or credit union account.

The first payment will take around five weeks to come through but an advance can be claimed if the claimant needs money sooner.

After the first payment, the claimant will be paid on the same date of every month.


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Most people should have no problem claimant Universal Credit so long as they hit certain criteria.

A person could receive Universal Credit if they:

  • Are on a low income or out of work
  • Are between 18 and state pension age
  • Have less than £16,000 in savings
  • Live in the UK

Once a person puts through a claim, they’ll have to agree to what is known as a “claimant commitment”.

This commitment will be worked out with a work coach and will detail what is expected of the claimant, which could include how much they’ll need to look for work.

If the responsibilities laid out are not met, the Universal Credit payments could be reduced or halted entirely.

If this happens, the claimant may be able to ask for a “hardship payment” to cover essentials if they can no longer afford them due to the sanction.

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