Universal Credit Hardship Payment


You might be able to get hardship payments of universal credit (UC) if your UC is being paid at a reduced (or nil) rate.

It is important to note that hardship payments of UC are recoverable so you must pay them back from future UC deductions.

Eligibility for a Hardship Payment

You can qualify for a hardship payment of Universal Credit in a number of situations:

  • If you are 18 or over and are sanctioned (or your partner) and

  • For ‘low level sanctions only’ you and your partner if you are claiming jointly have met compliance conditions set by the DWP, for example: you have now taken part in a work-focused interview or have agreed to attend training.

  • Your Universal Credit has been reduced because of a benefit offence

If you are aged 16-17 and you are sanctioned you cannot get hardship payments. This is because, while you are sanctioned, your UC is automatically paid at a reduced rate.

If your UC has been reduced because of a benefit offence and you are aged 16-17 you can still apply for a hardship payment.

How to claim

You must submit a hardship application with evidence and accept that a hardship payment will have to be paid back.

The DWP must also be satisfied that you have met all work–related requirements that you were required to meet in the seven days before you applied for a hardship payment and that you (and your partner) are experiencing hardship.

What counts as hardship?

The decision maker only considers you to be in hardship if:

  • You cannot meet your immediate and most basic essential needs or those of a child you are responsible for, for example accommodation, heating and food.

  • You have made every effort to get alternative sources of support for example from a charity to help your situation.