Help during your wait for benefit and when you will get paid

Your Universal Credit is a single payment that is paid monthly in arrears so you’ll have to wait one calendar month from your assessment date before your first UC payment is made. This is called your assessment period. 

You then have to wait up to seven days for the payment to reach your bank account. This means it can take up to six weeks before you get your first payment.

If you've not got enough money to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can ask the DWP for an advance payment.

If you're a private tenant, the DWP should give you the option of paying any housing costs element to your landlord when you make your Universal Credit claim. 

Advance payments

If you have made a Universal Credit claim but are unable to manage until your first payment, you may be able to get a Universal Credit advance.

The maximum amount you can borrow will be the same as your first estimated Universal Credit monthly payment.

You'll need to pay back your advance a bit at a time from your future Universal Credit payments. You'll usually pay your advance back over a 12 month period.

To apply for an advance payment you’ll need to:

  • let the Department for Work and Pensions know why you need the advance
  • provide your bank details so that the money can be paid if an advance is agreed
  • verify your identity – you’ll do this online when you submit your Universal Credit claim, or in the jobcentre during your first interview
  • show that you can pay it back
  • agree to pay it back

You will usually be told if you can get an advance on the same day that you apply for it.

You can apply for an advance payment via your online account. You can also call the Universal Credit helpline or speak to your work coach.

You can only apply for an advance online if you are within your first Universal Credit assessment period. If you are no longer in your first assessment period you should apply by calling the helpline.

Read more about getting a Universal Credit advance.

Emergency help while you wait for your first payment

Emergency help may be available while you are waiting for your first Universal Credit payment, depending on your circumstances.

  • Emergency help with food, household necessities and utility costs from our Liverpool Citizens Support Scheme. This scheme is not intended to provide help with housing costs, debts, or to be an alternative to Universal Credit advance payments.
  • Food parcels from a foodbank - you will need a food bank voucher from a referral agency.

Once your Universal Credit is in payment, you can apply for a discretionary housing payment if your Universal Credit includes help with housing costs and you are struggling to pay your rent.

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