Universal Credit: the impact of monthly payments on low income households

Author: Yvette Hartfree
Publication date: February 2014
Published by: Policy Press
Source: Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Vol 22, No 1, pp. 15-26(12)
DOI: 10.1332/175982714X13875307250087

Universal Credit will radically change the UK's system of welfare benefits and tax credits for people of working age. Universal Credit will be paid on a monthly, rather than a fortnightly, basis. This article examines the evidence for the widespread concern that moving to a monthly payment system will be detrimental for low income households and reviews the government's proposals for providing claimants with budgeting support. The conclusion is drawn that, for some claimants, monthly payment of Universal Credit is likely to make money management easier, but for low income households whose current preferences and habits are to budget on a weekly or fortnightly basis, monthly payment of Universal Credit risks undermining the money management strategies which they find effective.

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