Universal Credit is a living support payment which was first rolled out in 2013 to assist everyday living costs for those who need financial support. The sum is provided to claimants monthly in an aim to help those who are unemployed or on a low income to get back on their feet. For new claimants to the system, the first payment usually takes approximately five weeks to be processed, and for the money to land in a claimant’s bank account.
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In April, as a result of the coronavirus crisis and the new tax year, Universal Credit underwent changes which saw the amount claimants receive a rise.
The new tax year meant a boost of 1.7 percent of the sum, as a result of the removal of a benefit freeze.
Then, further to the increase, the government placed a £1,000 per year boost on the benefit as a measure to help those struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
While this figure will revert after a year, it is likely to provide a financial buffer for those who are affected by COVID-19.
Universal Credit is based on personal circumstances, and the figure claimants can expect to receive differs from person to person.
However, the government has provided clarity via its standard allowance system.
Those who are single and 25 or over could receive £409.89.
And those in a couple where either are over the age of 25 are entitled to £594.04 in standard allowance.
This figure is increased if a claimant has children, a disability, or needs additional financial assistance.
Universal Credit is slowly replacing six legacy benefits Britons may be more used to receiving.
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Working Tax Credit
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are gradually phasing these benefits out, however, those who claim them will not have to take any action unless instructed to.
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Applying for Universal Credit takes place primarily online, and certain documents are necessary to make a claim.
These include the information of a bank or building society, proof of identity, and details of income and savings.
Those eligible to receive Universal Credit are over 18, under State Pension age and resident in the UK.
Claimants must also have less than £16,000 in savings to be entitled to receive the sum.
Usually, potential claimants are required to sit a face-to-face interview through Jobcentre Plus, however, the coronavirus lockdown means the system has moved to become entirely remote at present.
The Universal Credit system has come under increasing pressure recently.
Thousands of staff members were moved within the government to tackle the issue of mounting applications due to the coronavirus crisis.
Some politicians, such as former MP Frank Field and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, have suggested the system be reviewed at this time.
The government states that of eligible claims for Universal Credit more than nine out of ten have been paid in full and on time.
As of May 6, approximately 1.8 million new claimants submitted applications for the benefit, with almost 70,000 advance payments issued.
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