Universal Credit: Britons may be eligible for alternative payment arrangements – check now
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Universal Credit is made available to individuals on a low income, or those who have found themselves out of work. While the sum will vary dependent on a person’s circumstances, Universal Credit is intended to provide the level of support needed to cover day-to-day costs and other expenses. Universal Credit is paid out in a single monthly sum, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which oversees the benefit, states this is to help Britons manage their own financial affairs.
However, there may be instances where a monthly payment of Universal Credit is not the most suitable approach.
In this case, some Britons may be able to set up a different method for their entitlement.
This is known as an alternative payment arrangement or APA, and is designed to help those who cannot manage a single monthly payment.
Alternative payment arrangements are put into place when there is a risk of financial harm to the claimant or their family.
This alternative payment arrangement approach comes in a variety of forms, but all are intended to provide the support Britons need and ensure financial security.
One alternative payment arrangement will be paying housing costs directly to a landlord, while another could involve more frequent than monthly payments.
Ultimately, it is down to a person’s situation and what the DWP feels appropriate which will determine how an alternative payment arrangement is administered.
An APA can be considered at any point during a person’s claim for Universal Credit, on a case-by-case basis.
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It is important to note, however, an APA can also be triggered by details the claimants submit themselves.
There are a number of factors taken into consideration when deciding whether or not a person needs an APA.
These are as follows:
- Is the person in rent arrears?
- Has the person been previously homeless?
- Does the person have mental health issues?
- Does the person have learning difficulties?
- Does the person have addiction problems?
Because APAs are carefully considered, the DWP also has a priority order put in place for administering them.
Of the top priority is paying Universal Credit housing costs to the landlord to safeguard the claimant’s home – ensuring they keep a roof over their head.
Next, Universal Credit staff will consider if a person needs a more frequent payment than a monthly award to help them manage their finances.
Thirdly, there may be instances where a split payment of an award between a person and their partner is the most appropriate course of action.
This could be the case in instances where financial abuse is present, or domestic violence has been identified.
APAs are reviewed to take into account a Universal Credit claimant’s changing circumstances and characteristics.
The DWP has explained staff dedicated to Universal Credit will decide when the APA is to be reviewed using information provided by the claimant, and their landlord if required.
However, reviews are usually set for every three months as a rough guide to help those on an APA know what to expect.
If a person wishes to apply for an APA or raise they need one, they should speak to their work coach as soon as possible.
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