Universal Credit is a vital lifeline for many struggling Brits who are out of work or struggling for cash.

Each month the Department for Work and Pensions looks at your needs and your income and calculates how much Universal Credit you are entitled to.

The DWP can deduct money from your payment if you have a debt.

There are a few reasons they could do this, including an overpayment, a loan or advance repayments.

These deductions can be seen on your Universal Credit Statement, The Daily Record reports.

You can see if you're affected on the website

To find your statement you need to sign into your online account and go to ‘Payments’, and then look for ‘what we take off - deductions’.

This is the full list of types of debt that can be deducted from Universal Credit:

Advance payments

This is your repayment of a Universal Credit advance.

Universal Credit overpayment

This is when you have been paid too much.

To see if you have had an overpayment, the DWP advises claimants to sign into your online Universal Credit account, go to your journal and look for a message.

Universal Credit is vital for millions

Benefit overpayment

This is when you have been received too much for any benefit other than Universal Credit - including Tax Credit and Housing Benefit overpayments.

If you have been overpaid, you will have a journal message or letter explaining what the overpayment is for.

Recoverable Hardship payment

You can apply for a Hardship payment if your Universal Credit payment has been reduced because of a fraud penalty or sanction.

You will need to pay this back once your fraud penalty or sanction has ended - when the amount you pay back has been agreed it cannot be changed.

The Department for Work and Pensions can deduct payments

Budgeting and Crisis Loan repayment

This is your repayment of a Budgeting or Crisis Loan.

How much you pay back is agreed at the time you accepted the loan.

Other debts you owe – ‘third party deductions’

Third party deductions are when money is taken off your Universal Credit to pay your debts for things including:

Utilities such as electricity and gas

Council Tax

Child maintenance

Rent

Service charges

Court fines

Up to a maximum of three third party deductions can be taken at any one time.

How much will be taken off your Universal Credit payment

Universal Credit calculates the amount taken from your payment at the end of every assessment period.

An assessment period is a rolling one month period that starts on the day you first made your Universal Credit claim.

For example, if someone claims Universal Credit on October 8, their first assessment period will run from October 8 to November 8.

The amount taken off may change if your:

Earnings change

Other benefits change

The GOV.UK website states that: “Normally the most that can be taken from your payment is 30% of your Universal Credit Standard Allowance.”

It comes after news that millions of struggling families could lose £1,000 if the government goes ahead with plans to scrap a weekly increase to Universal Credit.

Downing Street is currently planning to end the weekly £20 payment in April 2021, which would see hard-up Brits lose £1,040 a year.