Universal credit Scottish choices

31 August 2023
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What are the Scottish choices

With Scottish choices, you can ask for universal credit to paid twice a month and for the amount in universal credit for rent to be paid direct to your landlord.

Payments twice a month

You can choose to be paid universal credit twice a month. If you do not make this choice, your universal credit will be paid once a month.

If you choose more frequent payments, your next payment of universal credit will be made at the same time of the month, but will only be half as much. The second part of your payment will be around 15 days later, but this may change if that date is a weekend or a bank holiday.

Payment of rent to your landlord

You can choose to have your amount of universal credit to help with the rent paid direct to your landlord. You have this choice whether your landlord is a local authority, housing association or a private landlord.

If you make this choice, you should check that the amount paid to your landlord covers the full amount of your rent. If it does not, you might be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment.

Who can get Scottish choices

If you live in Scotland and get universal credit, you can get the Scottish choices, unless the DWP has already decided to change your universal credit payments in a similar way. Changes made by the DWP are called ‘alternative payment arrangements’.

Alternative payment arrangements

Wherever you live in the UK, it may be possible to have universal credit paid under 'alternative payment arrangements'. You might have alternative payment arrangements if:

  • your housing benefit was paid to your private landlord and you want your help with rent from universal credit to be paid like this;
  • you find monthly payments difficult to budget for;
  • you have rent arrears;
  • you and your partner have difficulty managing a single payment.

This is discretionary and there is no right of appeal.

You cannot get Scottish choices if you already have a similar alternative payment arrangement in place. You can read more about alternative payment arrangements on gov.uk.

How to take up the Scottish choices

After your first payment of universal credit, you'll get an offer of the Scottish choices available to you in your online account.

Although you'll only be offered a choice at the start of your claim, you can ask at any time:

  • through your online account
  • by phoning the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644
  • by asking your work coach.

You can change your mind at any time. If you want to do this, ask the DWP to change your payments back again in one of the ways above.

More information

Read the Scottish choices regulations on legislation.gov.uk.