Errors in reported wages
Sometimes when you check your Universal Credit (UC) statement the wages used can seem different to what you have been paid. When your employer pays you they report your wage to HMRC. UC take this information and use it to calculate the deduction for wages.
The first step is always to check your PAYE account at HMRC to see what your employer has reported.
If your wages are incorrect on your HMRC PAYE account
If your employer has reported your wage incorrectly you will need to raise this with them, they have a legal obligation to report accurately and can be fined for consistent errors in reporting.
If your wages are correct on your HMRC PAYE account
If your wages have been reported accurately there may be other reasons that UC have a different amount.
These are some of the more common reasons this can happen:
Being paid four-weekly
This means that once a year you will have two wages counted in your assessment period. This can be different to the month you have two wages as it is based on your assessment period dates. There is nothing you can do to reduce the amount counted but it can help to plan and put a small amount away each month. You can read more about how your work pay frequency impacts your Universal Credit here.
Wage date close to your assessment period dates
If you are paid monthly and have an assessment period that ends close to your pay day from work this can sometimes affect how your wages are shown to UC. If your employer always reports your wages as paid on the same date, irrespective of bank holidays and weekends then you shouldn’t have an issue. However if your wage fluctuates you may find that being paid early means two wages have fallen into the same assessment period and have both been counted.
If this happens you have two options;
Raise an RTI dispute – to do this you need to query the amount of wages with your case manager. Write a message in your journal explaining the dates you have been paid and that you are monthly paid so only one wage should be counted. Your case manager should send your information to the RTI team who can remove (Invalidate) one set of your wages and use them in a different assessment period. This can be very straightforward if it is clear that your payment date has changed due to weekend or bank holiday.
Check whether you will have a wage counted in the next assessment period. If not, this can sometimes be more beneficial financially.
Third party deductions
Do you have a deduction such as an attachment of earnings or repayment for an advance on wages? These are counted as part of your wages for UC purposes
If your employer has reported your wage incorrectly you can ask UC to raise an RTI dispute. You should give them as much information as possible about what happened, e.g wages reported wrong, dates wrong etc. If your employer reported incorrectly this will take longer to look into as UC will send a request to HMRC for more information and may even get in touch with your employer. Initially you won’t be asked to provide evidence.
If you disagree with the decision from the RTI team you can request a mandatory reconsideration. This will then go to a decision maker who can look more in depth at your wages and when you were paid.