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Hardship Payments - Universal Credit Hardship Payments

Hardship Payments are reduced-rate payments of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) that are made in limited circumstances, including if you have been sanctioned.

Universal Credit Hardship Payments

You may be able to get Hardship Payments of Universal Credit (UC) if your UC is being paid at a reduced (or nil) rate.

Important: Hardship Payments of UC are recoverable so you must pay them back.

You can qualify for a Hardship Payment of UC in a number of situations:

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

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

  • Your UC has been reduced because of a benefit offence.

In addition to the above, 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.

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.

UC Hardship payments: What is 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.

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