Universal Credit - Case study


Carmen is a single parent with two dependent children aged 6 and 11.  She works part-time as a staff nurse. 

Carmen Claims Universal Credit (UC) which includes an amount toward housing costs and a work allowance. 

Carmen’s salary is paid calendar monthly and her normal payday is the 25th of each month.   In months where her normal payday falls either on a bank holiday or a weekend, she is paid on the closest working day.

Carmen’s UC assessment period runs from 26th- 25th of each month which means that on the times she receives her salary earlier than the 25th of each month, she is treated as having received two month’s pay in one UC assessment period.  Carmen has also had problems with her Trust payroll department putting the wrong date on pay slips which has resulted in the same issue arising as she has been treated as having received the money in one UC assessment period.  

This has caused significant problems for Carmen and her family.    Carmen has found it very difficult to budget due to the variable income and managing cash-flow with two young children.  She has lost her work allowance in these periods due to the ‘doubling up’ of earnings by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and, she has also repeatedly lost her entitlement to Council Tax Reduction due to the way in which her income has been reported by the DWP.  

Carmen has found this situation extremely challenging to deal with both in terms of the financial detriment and her efforts to dispute this matter with the DWP. She has also struggled to get her employer on board in reporting pay dates correctly. Carmen has disputed the DWP’s decision to assess her income in this way through the mandatory reconsideration process and is now appealing to a First Tier Tribunal and awaits a hearing date.