News

Universal Credit warning to people not claiming benefits worth an average £2,900

Almost a million people across the UK could be missing out on thousands of pounds-worth of Universal Credit payments, a charity has revealed.

Turn2Us estimates that a staggering £15 billion has been left unclaimed, which averages out at approximately £2,900 per unclaimed benefit, simply because many people currently working do not realise, or think, they are eligible to apply for Universal Credit.

A common reason for people missing out on financial support from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is due to lack of understanding about Universal Credit eligibility requirements and how even if someone is in work, they could qualify for the benefit.

New claimants may not be entitled to the full benefit amount, but they could be eligible for elements of it, including a Council Tax Reduction or help paying rent. It could also help top-up wages for those on a low income or give people over State Pension age support through Pension Credit.

In the past, people on a low income would apply for Working Tax Credits, however, this is a legacy benefit which is gradually being phased out as claimants migrate to Universal Credit.

Turn2Us said the complexity of the benefits system when making a new claim might also be putting people off, along with an unfounded shame around claiming benefits.

The Labour party recently pledged to overhaul the benefit system including giving it a new name to end the stigma around Universal Credit.

A UK Government spokesperson said that it has already supported three million new Universal Credit claimants and raises awareness through campaigns, adverts and social media.

The spokesperson said: “We encourage anyone who thinks they might be entitled to Universal Credit to check and claim what they’re entitled to. There are a number of benefits calculators available on gov.uk.”

How to claim Universal Credit

The UK Government states that a person may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • You are on a low income or out of work

  • You are 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)

  • You are under State Pension age (or your partner is)

  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you

  • You live in the UK

If you live with your partner, their income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.

It is worth noting that you won’t be able to get any of the means-tested benefits if your capital and savings amount to more than the upper limit of £16,000.

These include:

However, your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) and this particular benefit can be obtained at the same time as Universal Credit – or on its own.

‘New Style’ JSA is a contribution-based benefit. This means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the two full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.

It is paid fortnightly and if you qualify, you can get ‘New Style’ JSA for up to 182 days.

If you qualify for both ‘New Style’ JSA and Universal Credit, any ‘New Style’ JSA you receive will be taken into account as income for Universal Credit.

To make a claim for Universal Credit, visit the gov.uk webpsite here and for more information on claiming Jobseeker’s Allownace, read more here.

How much will you be paid?

The DWP has updated the changes to payment rates for Universal Credit to include the extended £20 per week uplift.

This will be included in benefit payments until the end of September, 2021.

Universal Credit from April to September (monthly rates shown)

Standard allowance

Single

Couple

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £490.60

  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £596.58

Child Elements

  • First child (born prior to 6 April 2017): £282.50

  • First child (born on or after 6 April 2017) or second child and subsequent child (where an exception or transitional provision applies): £237.08

Disabled Child Additions

  • Lower rate addition: £128.89
  • Higher rate addition: £402.41

Limited Capability for Work

  • Limited capability for work amount: £128.89
  • Limited capability for work and work-related activity amount: £343.63

Carer

An estimated £15 billion has been left unclaimed by nearly a million people across the UK

Universal Credit from October to March 2022 (monthly rates shown)

Standard allowance

Single

Couple

  • Joint claimants both under 25: £403.93

  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £509.91

What if you have a job?

There is no limit to how many hours you can work while claiming Universal Credit, but only people on a low income are eligible, and this threshold depends on individual circumstances.

The amount a working person receives is dependent on how much they earn.

It reduces as someone earns more – for each £1 a claimant earns in their job, their payment will reduce by 63p, with the aim being that their payments will gradually reduce until they are financially independent.

That is, unless the person is eligible for a Work Allowance, which includes those who have responsibility for a child and those whose working ability is affected by a disability or health condition.

In these circumstances, they will be able to earn up to a set amount without their benefits being affected.

The set amount is £292 per month for people who already have extra help to cover housing costs, and £512 per month for people who do not.

For anything they earn above that amount, the £1 to 63p rule will apply.

Housing costs

You could get money to help pay your housing costs. How much you get depends on your age and circumstances, but the payment can cover rent and some service charges.

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get a loan to help with interest payments on your mortgage or other loans you’ve taken out for your home.

What documents you need to apply for Universal Credit

You will need:

  • Your bank, building society or credit union account details

  • An email address

  • Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay

  • Details of your income, for example payslips

  • Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out

  • Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs

If you don’t provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get.

Verifying your identity online

You will need some proof of identity for this, for example your:

  • Driving licence

  • Passport

  • Debit or credit card

To make a claim for Universal Credit, visit the gov.uk website here

Universal Credit warning to people not claiming benefits worth an average £2,900

Did you know there are a number of ways you can stay up to date with the latest money saving and benefits news from the Daily Record?

You can join the conversation on our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group for money-saving tips, benefits news, consumer help and advice plus the latest shopping deals.

Sign up to our weekly Record Money newsletter to get our best stories sent straight to your inbox. You can sign up either by entering your email address in the sign up box further up this page or click here.

You can also follow our Twitter account @Recordmoney_ for regular updates here.

Benefit Calculators

You can also use an independent benefits calculator to find out:

These calculators are free to use, anonymous, and could indicate benefits you’re missing out on.

Where to find help

Advice Direct Scotland

This new online tool is the first to fully integrate devolved benefits, including the new Scottish Child Payment.

It provides a free and impartial assessment of entitlement to a range of benefits such as Universal Credit, crisis grants and support payments.

Turn2us

Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours

Policy in Practice

Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit, how these are calculated and how your benefits will be affected if you start work or change your working hours

entitledto

Information on income-related benefits, Tax Credits, contribution-based benefits, Council Tax Reduction, Carer’s Allowance, Universal Credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start work

What you will need

You will need accurate information about your:

  • Savings

  • Income, including your partner’s

  • Existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)

  • Outgoings (such as rent, mortgage, childcare payments)

  • Council Tax bill

For more information about Universal Credit, visit the GOV.UK website here.

Get the latest money-saving and benefits news sent straight to your inbox. Sign up to our weekly Money newsletterhere.




Source link

Back to top button