Direct payments and Universal Credit


I will get straight to the point here.

Can a local authority force someone to apply for universal credit and then use the fact that the person is obtaining universal credit as an argument to lower the direct payments they get from the local authority?

I know the 2 are in theory separate but this is the scenario our particular local authority seems to be planning.

Thanks in advance!


It’s none of their business what you do or don’t claim.
If someone is receiving direct payments, it’s entirely up to the service user who gets the money, and what they pay them.

Thanks, that’s what I thought. They’re entirely separate so how the hell can they argue “you’re getting universal credit so your direct payments will go down”?



Use the word “unlawful” rather than illegal.
Have you got this in writing?
If not, write a letter simply saying “please can you explain why my direct payments are being reduced because I am claiming Universal Credit so that I can explain it to…”
Just that. Don’t elaborate.
I call these “fishing trip letters” you just want them to write it down!!
Get it in writing or they will deny it if you complain to the ombudsman!!

That’s great. Thank you so much.


These are their weasel words received today…
“As you are receiving a means tested direct payments service, we would expect you to claim any benefits you should be entitled to. Should you decide not to apply, please be aware that we would still take the benefit income we believe you should be getting into account as a ‘tariff’ income and therefore it is in your best interest to apply for this benefit.

I would therefore be grateful if you could make an application within the next 3 months. Keeping us up to date with any changes in income so we adjust the financial assessment as necessary”

Let me offer a translation: so we adjust the financial assessment as necessary = so we take away the amount you get from UC from your direct payments. (As they have done to 2 families we know already).

Will send them a fishing letter as you suggest.