You can have some of your bills (including rent, services charges, fuel or water bills) paid directly out of your benefits payments if you’re having difficulties. This is called ‘third party deductions’ and sometimes Fuel Direct.
The benefits that can be used are:
- Universal Credit
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Pension Credit
How to apply
- details of who you owe and how much
- your customer reference number (for bills)
- your National Insurance number
They’ll arrange for some of your benefits to be paid directly each month to the person or company you owe.
How deductions work
If you get Universal Credit
The amount of the deduction depends on what you’re paying off. Your Universal Credit will be deducted:
- 5% for gas, electricity and water
- at least 5% but not more than £108.35 per month for fines
- between 10% and 20% for rent
You can use deductions to pay your gas, electricity and water bills at the same time as paying back any debt you owe. This will stop once you’ve paid back what you owe.
If you get other benefits
Deductions are made each time your benefits are paid. £3.70 will be deducted from each benefit to pay off the debt you owe, plus an extra amount to cover your current bill each month.
The amount is decided by Jobcentre Plus or your pension centre but if it’s going to be more than 25% of your benefits (including Child Tax Credits), you’ll be asked to agree to the deduction.
If it’s under 25% the deduction can be made without you agreeing to it. You’ll be told what the deductions are going to be, and if they’re going to change.
When you can’t use the scheme
You can’t use the scheme to pay:
- a debt with a previous landlord or supplier
- for more than 3 types of debt (eg gas, water and rent) but in some cases you may be able to use it to pay for more than 3 current bills
Extra help with fuel bills
You might also qualify for:
- Winter Fuel Payment
- Cold Weather Payment
- the Warm Home Discount - a £140 discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households
If you get final demands
You shouldn’t get final demands if you’re using the deductions scheme. Contact Jobcentre Plus (or your pension centre if you’re on Pension Credit) if the person or company you owe sends you final demands by mistake.