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.

Other Criteria

  • You must be struggling to meet your basic needs or the basic needs of a child or young person you’re responsible for. 'Basic needs' include accommodation, heating, food and hygiene. You'll only be eligible if the reason you can't meet these needs is because of the sanction.

  • You must have made every effort to stop spending money on non-essential things. The Jobcentre expects you to only spend money on meeting basic needs, so they might expect you to spend less on entertainment or leisure activities.

  • You must have done everything you can to get money from other sources before you can apply. The Jobcentre should be reasonable about what you can do in your circumstances. For example, you won't be expected to sell your belongings, move house, or get a bank loan or credit card. But you could be expected to ask friends or family for money, looked for other benefits (eg from your local council, or local charities), or ask for extra hours if you work.

  • You must have done all the work-related activities that you were supposed to do in the 7 days before you 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.