Hardship payments: Help after a universal credit sanction

Get help to pay important living costs if you've been sanctioned.

What are hardship payments?

You can get a hardship payment if you’re struggling because you've been sanctioned.

They provide money to help with essential living costs such as rent, energy bills and food.

You have to repay them from future universal credit payments.

Find out more about sanctions from Citizens Advice

When you can get one

Before you make an application, you’ll have to meet any work-related requirements from the previous week.

For example, you might need to show you’ve spent a certain number of hours looking for work.

You must have tried to get help from other places like food banks or your family.

How to apply

The best way to apply is by calling the universal credit helpline.

Call 0800 328 5644 Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm

You can also apply by making an appointment with your work coach.

Prepare as much information as you can about why you’re in hardship and what steps you’ve taken to find financial help elsewhere.

Have bank statements to hand and make sure you know how much you spend on things like food, gas and electricity.

Tell them if you’re in rent arrears or struggling to look after a child you’re responsible for. Show proof of a food bank referral if you have it.

You’ll normally get a decision on whether you can get a hardship payment on the day you apply. You’ll be paid on the same day.

How much you’ll get

To find out how much you could get:

  1. work out 60% of the daily rate of your standard allowance
  2. multiply this by the number of days in your sanction

You can also ask your work coach or a universal credit adviser how much you could get.

If you continue to need help when the hardship payment stops and the sanction’s still in place, apply for another one.

If you don’t get a hardship payment

You can ask for your application to be reconsidered.

Make sure you're getting all the financial help you're entitled to.


Last updated 11 Jan 2019 | © Shelter

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