You will get Universal Credit the same way as other benefits, with only some small changes.

Universal Credit now allows you to receive your payments into a Credit Union account. You can also use a basic bank account, current account, building society or a Post Office card.

The Post Office card account does not let you set up automatic payments, like a direct debit to a landlord. If you choose the Post Office card, make sure you are comfortable organising the payments.

The Department for Work and Pensions say your complete claim will take one whole month to assess. Once it approves your claim, it will take 7 days to get your payment. This means in total you might wait 5 weeks to get your first payment.

This can be a long time to wait if you have no savings to help with livings costs. Different types of help are available to help while you wait. See our ‘Other types of financial support’ section for more help.

Your payment will usually come on the same day of each month. The payment date might change if it falls on a weekend or bank holiday. If this is the case, you will be paid on the working day before it. On your Universal Credit account you can see the amounts and dates of your upcoming payment.

Is it the same if I’m employed?

Having a job might affect your Universal Credit payment dates if you’re paid more than once a month.

If you receive wages every week, every fortnight or every 4 weeks this will affect your claim. Some months of the year, your income might count twice. This is because of how the assessment periods work but you will end up with the same amount of money. It is not something you need to worry about or do anything about, as by the end of the year it will be correct.

If you’re paid:

  • Every week – your payments will change four months in the year
  • Every 2 weeks – your payments will change twice a year
  • Every 4 weeks – your payments will only change once in the year

On the months where this happens, you will receive less Universal Credit. This is because you have received earnings twice in the same Universal Credit month. But the month after that, your income will drop and so your Universal Credit payment will be higher. At the end of the year, your Universal Credit amounts won’t be different.

The government will calculate this all for you, so you don’t need to do anything. If you want, you can use your account to see which months are affect and what you will receive.