Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs)

In the past, you may have had your housing benefit paid directly to Platform as your landlord.  Under Universal Credit, this is no longer an option (except in certain circumstances, see below). 

Universal Credit payments, including any amount of help you get towards your rent, are paid directly into your bank account. If you are part of a couple making a joint claim, the full combined amount will be paid into one account of your choice. You are responsible for paying your rent out of this single monthly lump sum.

You need to make sure you include paying your rent in your monthly budget - the best way to do this is by setting up a Direct Debit. To set up a direct debit please telephone 0333 200 7304 and select Option 3.

However, there are some circumstances in which payments can be made differently.  These are called Alternative Payment Arrangements (APA).  Even if an APA has been requested, you are responsible for paying the rent in full until a decision has been made.  If you are unable to pay your rent or are subject to court action, you must contact us immediately.

APA’s will only be considered for you if you or your partner cannot manage the single monthly payment and, as a result, there is a risk of financial harm to you and/or your family.  The Universal Credit decision maker will consider a number of factors and evidence provided to decide if an APA is appropriate.

There are 3 type of APA’s:

Split Payment

In some circumstances, a payment of Universal Credit can be split so that some goes to you and some goes to your partner.  This is usually in the case of financial mismanagement or where the person getting the money is unable to look after their own or their family's money. It can also be split if one of the couple has a main responsibility for a specific type of expenditure over the other, such as childcare or rent.

If you think this may be of use to you, speak to your Work Coach at the Jobcentre Plus.

More frequent payments

If the single monthly payment is causing financial hardship or if you would find it easier to manage your money on a more regular basis, more frequent payments can be considered.

If you think this may be of use to you, speak to your Work Coach at the Jobcentre Plus.

Managed Payments

A managed payment is where the housing costs part of Universal Credit can be paid direct to your landlord (Platform).  There are certain circumstances in which these can be considered, such as:

  • A person with rent arrears and/or a history of non-payment

  • A person with mental health issues or learning difficulties.

  • A person who has addictions such as gambling, alcohol and/or drugs

For a full list of the circumstances in which a managed payment can be considered, please see the 'Alternative Payment Arrangements reasons' guide (download).  If you think any of these may apply to you, please contact us urgently on 0333 200 7304.  Managed payments can be requested by Platform, you, or a support worker. You can also discuss them with your work coach.

APA's are supposed to be short term options while additional personal budgeting and support is put in place.  The intention is that you or your partner will be able to manage your own finances in the medium to long term.

The decision maker at the DWP is responsible for deciding if an APA can be put in place and for how long.

Third Party Deductions

If you are in rent arrears we can ask the DWP to deduct an amount from your Universal Credit payments, which is then paid directly to your landlord to contribute towards your arrears.  The amount can be anything up to 20% of your Universal Credit entitlement and we have no say in how much is deducted.  The DWP's decision maker will decide this and will take into account how much money you owe our landlord, if you owe anyone else any money, and any other relevant factors.

If you are unable to pay your rent or have been subject to court action you must contact us immediately to discuss your rent account.  Failure to pay your rent could result in you losing your home.