Back to previous
If you get universal credit
In some circumstances, deductions can be made from UC for debt and ongoing consumption of mains gas and electricity.1Sch 6 para 8 UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs Where you are working or self-employed, earning over a certain level and getting UC, you are not able to have a deduction for fuel debt made from UC.2Sch 6 para 8(5) and (6) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs
UC is calculated and paid on a monthly basis. The monthly amount that can be deducted in respect of a fuel debt depends on your age and on whether you are single or a couple.
Monthly deductions for fuel debts
Single, under 25
Single, 25 or over
Couple, both aged under 25
Couple, one or both aged 25 or over
These amounts are based on 5 per cent of the standard allowance for your circumstances.
In addition, an amount can be deducted for ongoing fuel consumption, unless this is not required – eg, if you already have a prepayment meter. If a deduction is made for ongoing fuel consumption as well as fuel debt, the maximum amount that can be deducted for both the debt and ongoing consumption is 25 per cent of the total of your standard allowance and any child elements you receive, unless you give your consent to a higher deduction being made.3Sch 6 para 3(3) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs
Deductions from UC for current consumption cannot continue once the debt is cleared.4Sch 6 para 8(2) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs
Deductions can be made from UC for other debts, such as rent arrears, housing costs and water charges. A maximum of three deductions can be made at any time.5Sch 6 para 3(1)(b) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs
1     Sch 6 para 8 UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs »
2     Sch 6 para 8(5) and (6) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs »
3     Sch 6 para 3(3) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs »
4     Sch 6 para 8(2) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs »
5     Sch 6 para 3(1)(b) UC,PIP,JSA&ESA(C&P) Regs »
If you get income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income related employment and support allowance or pension credit
Deductions can be made from your benefit if:1Sch 9 para 6(1) SS(C&P) Regs
    your arrears for gas or electricity are greater than the IS rate for a single person aged 25 and above (£77 in 2022/23); and
    you continue to need a fuel supply; and
    it is in your best interests, or those of your family, for direct payments to be made.
You are normally refused if:
    the above do not apply; or
    your supplier does not agree to you paying this way; or
    you have a prepayment meter which has been reset to collect arrears. (If your prepayment meter is for current consumption only, however, you could still have any arrears paid by Fuel Direct.)
Deductions can be made to cover arrears, or just to cover weekly costs after the debt has been cleared, or both.2Sch 9 para 6(4) SS(C&P) Regs
    For arrears.
      The maximum statutory deduction that can be made for electricity or gas is £3.85 for each fuel debt in 2022/23.
      There is a total maximum deduction of £7.70 altogether for gas and electricity arrears.3Sch 9 para 6(2) and 1(1) SS(C&P) Regs
    For current consumption.
      Your supplier gives the DWP an estimate of your weekly consumption. This is usually calculated by looking at your consumption over the past year. If the amounts suggested seem high, ask for an explanation – errors are not uncommon. Check that your supplier is not relying on estimated figures.
      The final decision on the amounts deducted rests with the DWP decision maker, who is not bound to accept the supplier’s estimates.4Sch 9 para 6(4) SS(C&P) Regs
      The maximum deduction that can be made without your consent is 25 per cent of your IS, JSA or ESA ‘applicable amount’ or PC ‘minimum guarantee’ (your entitlement before any deductions for income, etc. are made). If you get child tax credit (CTC) this calculation is 25 per cent of the total of your CTC, child benefit and IS/JSA/ESA applicable amount or PC minimum guarantee (before housing costs are included). This includes the combined amount of the deductions for arrears and current consumption.5Sch 9 para 8 SS(C&P) Regs
Other debts can also be paid by direct deductions from benefit, and payment of these may be in competition with payments for fuel. The number of deductions for arrears is limited to a maximum of three and a priority order applies. If you have both gas and electricity arrears, the DWP decides which debt takes priority.
1     Sch 9 para 6(1) SS(C&P) Regs »
2     Sch 9 para 6(4) SS(C&P) Regs »
3     Sch 9 para 6(2) and 1(1) SS(C&P) Regs »
4     Sch 9 para 6(4) SS(C&P) Regs »
5     Sch 9 para 8 SS(C&P) Regs »