DWP warning to Universal Credit claimants who fail to report these 16 changes

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has released the latest figures, revealing that as of the end of January 2024, a staggering 6.4 million individuals are on Universal Credit, with 2.4m of them being employed. This accounts for 38 per cent of all claimants receiving this income-related benefit.

Universal Credit is typically paid on a monthly basis, although some residents in Scotland may receive payments fortnightly. However, many recipients might not realise that failing to report certain changes in circumstances to the DWP could jeopardise their entitlement or payments, potentially resulting in a hefty fine or even a court summons.

Claimants must notify the DWP of changes such as a new mobile number or email address, changing bank accounts, moving house, or alterations in rent. The official GOV.UK site cautions: “You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”

Earlier this week, the DWP announced it now employs “3,100 full time equivalent agents reviewing Universal Credit claims”, reports the Daily Record.

For the financial year 2024/25, the DWP plans to scrutinise a selection of claims from five specific benefits, including the State Pension, as part of its annual fraud and error investigation.

DWP fraud review this financial year

In the upcoming financial year, the DWP‘s fraud and error review will focus on sample claims from the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Housing Benefit (State Pension age cases)
  • Pension Credit
  • State Pension (classed as a contributory benefit)
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

In an update on GOV. UK, the DWP has announced that the State Pension measurement will now include claims processed through the ‘Get Your State Pension online’ service in the financial year ending 2024.

This will also mark the first time since the financial year ending 2005 that the measurement of DLA is included, concluding its response to a consultation that took place in the summer of 2018. The DWP plans to publish the fraud and error report for the financial year ending 2024 in May 2025.

Changes in circumstance that must be reported to DWP

The DWP has issued guidance stating that changes to your circumstances must be reported to ensure you continue receiving the correct amount each month. It emphasises that changes should be reported “as soon as they happen” to avoid overpayment and subsequent repayment requirements.

The DWP warns: “Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you’re paid for your whole assessment period – not just from the date you report them.”

Changes can include:

  • finding a job
  • finishing a job
  • having a child
  • moving in with your partner
  • starting to care for a child
  • starting to care for disabled person
  • changing your mobile number
  • changing your email address
  • moving to a new address
  • changing your bank details
  • your rent going up or down
  • changes to your health condition
  • becoming too ill to work or meet your work coach
  • changes to your earnings – only if you’re self-employed
  • changes to your savings, investments and how much money you have
  • changes to your immigration status, if you’re not a British citizen

You can report a change of circumstances by signing into your Universal Credit account on GOV.UK.

Universal Credit rates this year

If you’re considering making a claim for Universal Credit, here’s a quick overview of the current Universal Credit payment rates:

Universal Credit (monthly rates)

Single claimants

  • Under 25: £311.68
  • 25 or over: £393.45

Joint claimants

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £489.23
  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £617.60

Child Amounts

  • First child (born prior to April 6, 2017): £333.33
  • First child (born on or after April 6, 2017) / second child and subsequent child (where an exception or transitional provision applies): £287.92

Disabled Child Additions

  • Lower rate addition: £156.11
  • Higher rate addition: £487.58

Limited Capability for Work

Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity

Carer amount

Childcare costs

  • Maximum for one child: £1014.63
  • Maximum for two or more children: £1,739.37
  • Non-dependants’ housing cost contributions: £91.47

Work Allowances

Higher work allowance (no housing amount)

  • One or more dependent children or limited capability for work: £673.00

Lower work allowance

  • One or more dependent children or limited capability for work: £404.00

The costs of childcare, work allowances, higher work allowance (no housing amount), and lower work allowance are all factors. Full details on Universal Credit deduction amounts based on household circumstances can be found on the GOV.UK website.


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