If you find monthly payments difficult to budget for, or if having your UC housing costs element paid to you rather than to your landlord is leading to serious rent arrears, or if you need the payment of your UC to be split between you and your partner, it may be possible to have an alternative payment arrangement.

This is discretionary and there is no right of appeal.

You must show that you cannot manage the usual payment arrangement and, as a result, there is a risk of financial harm to you or to someone in your family.

According to government guidance, the following applies.

  • The DWP must be satisfied that alternative payment arrangements should apply, based on your inability to cope with usual payment and on your circumstances. For example, are you managing to pay your bills on time? Can you manage a monthly budget? Are you used to managing money with your partner?
  • Alternative payment arrangements are considered in the following order of priority:

    ◦paying rent direct to your landlord to safeguard your home;

    ◦more frequent payment – i.e., two payments a month, rather than just one. Exceptionally, more frequent payments can be considered;

    ◦splitting payment between the partners in a couple in specific situations – e.g., if one partner is mismanaging the UC award or if there is domestic abuse.

  • The DWP splits claimants into two tiers: tier one for those with circumstances with a ‘high likely need’ for alternative payment arrangements and tier two those with ‘less likely need’.

You are in tier one if you:

◦have drug, alcohol and other addiction problems;

◦have learning difficulties;

◦have severe debt problems;

◦are living in temporary or supported accommodation;

◦are homeless;

◦have experienced domestic abuse;

◦have a mental health condition;

◦are currently in rent arrears or at threat of eviction or repossession;

◦are aged 16 or 17, or have left local authority care;

◦are a family with multiple and complex needs.


You are in tier two if you:

◦have third-party deductions in place – e.g., for utility arrears;

◦are a refugee or asylum seeker;

◦have a history of rent arrears;

◦were previously homeless or living in supported accommodation;

◦have a physical disability;

◦have just left prison or hospital;

◦are recently bereaved;

◦have problems with language skills;

◦are an ex-service person;

◦are not in education, employment or training.