Universal Credit may be affected by failing to report changes to DWP

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has warned Universal Credit claimants could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if they give wrong information about their circumstances. People can report a change of circumstances by signing in to their Universal Credit account.

Universal Credit is a payment to help with someone’s living costs. People may be able to get it if they’re on a low income, out of work or they cannot work.

Universal Credit is paid monthly and is based on someone’s circumstances each month.

This is called their ‘assessment period’ and it starts the day they make their claim.

People will get one standard allowance for their household.

How much they’ll get – monthly standard allowance

  • If they’re single and under 25 – £292.11
  • If they’re single and 25 or over – £368.74
  • If they live with their partner and you’re both under 25 – £458.51 (for both)
  • If they live with their partner and either of they are 25 or over – £578.82 (for both)

Changes in circumstances can affect how much they’re paid for their whole assessment period – not just from the date they report them.

Changes can include:

  • finding or finishing a job
  • having a child
  • moving in with your partner
  • starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • changing your mobile number or email address
  • moving to a new address
  • changing your bank details
  • your rent going up or down
  • changes to your health condition
  • becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach
  • changes to your earnings (only if you’re self-employed)
  • changes to your savings, investments and how much money you have
  • changes to your immigration status, if you’re not a British citizen

On the DWP website it states: “You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”

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Britons can report a change of circumstances by signing in to their Universal Credit account.

If people get a job or increase the hours they work, they can use a benefits calculator or speak with their work coach to find out how getting a job or an increase in their earnings might affect their Universal Credit claim.

Most employers will report one’s earnings for them.

They will normally only need to report monthly earnings if they are self-employed.

How to claim Universal Credit
People can apply for Universal Credit online. They need to create an account.

They use it to make a claim. They must complete their claim within 28 days of creating their account or they will have to start again.

If someone lives with their partner, they will both need to create accounts.

They’ll link them together when they claim. People cannot claim by themselves.

If someone cannot claim online, they can claim by phone through the Universal Credit helpline.

If individuals already get benefits or tax credits, they should work out if they’ll be better off before they or their partner claim Universal Credit.

If they apply for Universal Credit those benefits might end and they will not be able to apply for them again, even if their application is not approved.

To check if someone is better off, they can:

  • use a benefits calculator
  • contact the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service
  • ask a local benefits adviser

To apply online people will need their bank, building society or credit union account details, an email address and access to a phone.

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