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Deductions from Universal Credit

Deductions can be made from your Universal Credit (UC) to repay money you owe to people like your landlord and energy company.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Some deductions from universal credit (UC) were temporarily suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.  If you think you were having deductions taken from your UC, make sure you check if there was a break and if the deductions are currently still being made. Check your online UC journal.

If money was being taken to repay rent arrears and those deductions stopped, it might mean your arrears have increased. You will need to find another way to pay off what you owe. If you are unable to do that then you should contact your landlord immediately. You might be in breach of a court order if you don’t pay and you could risk being evicted once the suspension on evictions has ended.

Universal Credit key facts

  • One single payment to cover living costs and rent
  • Paid monthly
  • Claim online
  • Paid into your bank account

When deductions can be made

Money can be taken from your UC to repay debts for things like:

  • rent and service charges
  • mortgage interest
  • gas, electricity and water
  • council tax.

How deductions are made

Your landlord, utility company or local council can apply for money to be taken from your UC if you owe them money.

In most cases, the money will be taken automatically and you won’t need to give your permission. The deduction will show in your online UC account.

If no information is given about what the money is being taken for, leave a message in your UC journal or ring the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Welsh language : 0800 328 1744) to find out more.

How much can be deducted?

Only 5% can be taken from the main part of your UC – called the standard allowance – for each debt you owe.

The exceptions are:

  • rent arrears – anything between 10% and 20% of your standard allowance can be deducted (unlike deductions from housing benefit there is no longer a fixed amount)
  • court fines – deductions are made at a minimum of 5% of your standard allowance and a maximum of £108.

Usually the total amount of deductions that can be made is up to 40% of your standard allowance for only 3 debts at a time. (This will reduce to 30% in October 2019).

Sometimes, more than 40% of your standard allowance can be taken if it’s thought to be in your best interests. For example, if it could help you to keep your home.

Can I get the deductions reduced?

If deductions are being made from your UC and they are making it hard for you to manage, ask your work coach if they can be reduced.

If you can’t get hold of your work coach, leave a note in your online journal or ring the UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Welsh language : 0800 328 1744).

Explain if the reduced amount is making things hard for you, for example if you’re struggling to:

  • buy food
  • look after your children
  • pay your rent.

If you can show that you can clear the debt or rent arrears yourself the deductions might be stopped or reduced.

Where can I get more help?

Get advice from Citizens Advice or other benefit adviser. Use the advicelocal guide to find an adviser in your area.

If you’re in rent arrears or other debts get advice from Shelter Cymru as soon as you can.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
08000 495 495

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: July 23, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.

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