Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs. It’s paid monthly to people living in the UK who are on a low income, out of work or unable to work.
Universal Credit has replaced 6 benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
The DWP/HMRC expects all households claiming legacy benefits and tax credits to have moved across to Universal Credit (UC) by September 2024 as part of ‘Managed Migration’.
If you are receiving one or more of the above listed benefits, the DWP will let you know when it’s time to move to UC but some claimants may want to consider moving over to UC sooner.
In April 2020 the Government made changes to UC to increase the standard allowance by £20 a week to help people through the coronavirus pandemic.
This extra £20 per week was due to stop from 5th April 2021, but in March’s Budget, the Chancellor announced it will now be extended until the end of September 2021.
This means that for some people who are claiming legacy benefits such as Income Support, Jobseekers or Employment and Support Allowance, you will be better off by around £85 per month by claiming Universal Credit.
|Your circumstances||Current monthly allowance – including the £20 pw uplift||Monthly allowance – October 2021 (post uplift)|
|Single and under 25||£342.72||£257.33|
|Single and 25 or over||£409.89||£324.84|
|In a couple and both under 25||£488.59 per couple||£403.93 per couple|
|In a couple and either of you is 25 or over||£594.04 per couple||£509.91 per couple|
The £20 weekly uplift doesn’t apply to those people who are currently in receipt of:
- Jobseekers Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
For those who are claimants of Working Tax Credit, you will get a one-off £500 payment by mid-April. Due to the nature of working tax credit, claimants will get the equivalent of the weekly payment, in the form of a one-off payment. This applies to all claimants across the UK who were in receipt of working tax credit as of 2nd March 2021.
Before considering making the change to Universal Credit always carry out a benefit check first because not everyone will be better off. For example, people in the work related activity group or support group of ESA and those who receive the Severe Disability Premium (SDP).
Not only would some be better off claiming UC for the additional £20 per week uplift but you could also benefit, if you fall into certain categories. Find out more, here.
For more support around this, contact our Money Advice Team for their help.