Payroll & Universal Credit

When making a first UC claim can make a difference

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An employee of one of my payrolls has had a few problems with her UC claim.  After a discussion it appears that it could well be an anomoly of when she made her first claim.

The employer always pays on the last working day of the month so 31 August 2023, 29 September 2023, 31 October 2023, 30 November 2023, 29 December 2023 and  31 January 2024.  She has had some months where no UC has been paid because of two pay days in the same assessment period.  DWP has confirmed the assessment period is 30th of one month to 29th of the following month so 29 September, 30 November and 29 December were all problem months.  Apparently an assessment period always starts on the date of a first claim so, I assume in this case, she made her claim on 30th of the month.

Is there anyway around this?  Does seem unfair as this wouldn't have happened had she made a claim, say, in the middle of the month.

Replies (3)

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By Wanderer
14th Feb 2024 10:04

I would strongly advise not to get involved in this. The UC people often (allegedly) say something along the lines 'It is down to what your employer has told us, you need to take it up with them'.

Pay as per contractual terms, make proper RTI returns & don't get involved further. As soon as you get involved in the argument people will start pointing the finger at you to come up with a solution.

Just refer them back to the DWP.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By neiltonks
14th Feb 2024 13:05

I agree. This is nothing to do with you as the employer. You're just doing what a huge number of employers do; paying on the last working day of the month. It's a quirk of the UC system that this sometimes causes issues but the problem lies with the UC system, not with what you're doing.

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By FactChecker
14th Feb 2024 13:18

"Is there anyway around this? Does seem unfair .."
No (and Yes, but there are loads of other parts of the process which are equally unfair).

You are correct that "an assessment period always starts on the date of a first claim" - so if the individual really wants to move that date then all they can do is withdraw the claim and make a new one (based on a date that better meets their requirements) ... although of course there will be a substantial interregnum between the two claims.

But it's a fundamental flaw in the concept of UC Assessment periods - which regularly affects those paid weekly or fortnightly + often affects anyone occasionally paid at a different day in the month (like at Christmas) + many other examples.

As Wanderer says, you can only apply PAYE/RTI correctly ... and refer a complaining employee back to DWP (who do have the facilities to over-ride these anomalies - just not in a very automated way)!
Do not get involved in trying to 'fix' the problem at your end ... more than likely you'll just uncover/create new problems which then ARE your problem!

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