Universal Credit: Alternative Payment Arrangements rules explained – how to apply

Universal Credit is designed to support people who have fallen on financially difficult times, which will be very pertinent at the moment. Thousands, if not millions, of new claimants have applied for Universal Credit as coronavirus affected their incomes and general employment.

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  • Universal Credit UK: How Britons can apply for a payment advance

As there has been a wave of new applicants, it’s possible that many people may not be aware of the additional elements that could be utilised.

The additional financial support available could be especially useful at the moment as families could find themselves with limited resources in a very short time frame.

Alternative payment arrangements (APA) in particular could be relieving for those worried about potential evictions.

If a Universal Credit claimant is facing difficulties or is behind on their rent, arrangements could be made by the landlord in question to ease the burdens.

The Landlord may be able to apply for APA which could provide different outcomes depending on the circumstances.

APA could be received which:

  • Could get the rent paid directly to the landlord
  • Will allow the claimant to be paid more frequently than once a month
  • Splits the payments, if the claimant is part of a couple

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To get the ball rolling on an application for an APA, the claimant should speak with their work coach.

It’s also possible to get a Budgeting Advance in some emergency circumstances.

A budgeting advance can provide a one off payment to cover things like emergency household costs such as replacing a cooker, getting a job or staying in work or funeral costs.

Applying for this advance should be considered thoroughly however as it will have to be paid back to the government.

The repayments will come from future Universal Credit payments, which will be lower until the debt is completely repaid.

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  • Universal Credit: What is Discretionary Housing Payment?

If this option is taken, the smallest amount that can be borrowed is £100.

However, it is possible to receive much more if the claimant is:

  • Single – £348
  • As part of a couple – £464
  • Claimant’s with children – £812

Universal Credit claimants can receive a wide range of support from the state but it will be dependent on their circumstances.

Claimants may be able to get help for housing costs such as broadband and heating bills.

Additional support can be received for childcare bills such as school meals and food shopping.

In some unique situations, it may even be possible to receive help with certain legal costs.

As there is such broad scope in place, it is useful to note that advice can be sought from a number of impartial organisations such as Citizens Advice, the Money Advice Service and the Money Advice Trust.

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