THOUSANDS of low-income UK workers will see their payments change from tomorrow.
Anyone claiming the allowance and working will now be able to keep more of what they earn.
Millions of people receiving universal credit will see their payments increase while thousands more without the benefit may now be eligible after a change in the rules.
Universal credit payments are gradually reduced as you earn more, beyond a certain amount.
This graduated rate has been reduced by 55p for every £ 1 instead of 63p and the working allowance – an amount some people can earn before this reduction applies – has increased by £ 500 per year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the change during his fall budget speech last month in a major victory for The Sun’s Make Universal Credit Work campaign.
The new rates have been in effect since last week (November 24) and applicants will see the extra money in their accounts starting tomorrow (December 1).
The exact date you see the new payment amounts will depend on when you receive your Universal Credit payments.
You should also have received a notification through your Universal Credit account informing you of the change.
You can ask your professional coach if you are not sure when the extra money will arrive or how much.
Almost 2 million Britons currently on Universal Credit and working will be better off by around £ 1,000 a year.
But low-income people who previously were not eligible for universal credit because they earned too much may now qualify for assistance.
Lowering the graduated rate means it’s easier to qualify for the allowance with higher incomes, said Dr Phil Agulnik, head of the EntitledTo charity.
And those with old benefits who have not yet switched to universal credit may now be better off in the new system.
He said: “Concretely, these changes mean that it is more important than ever for people to check if they can apply for universal credit.
“Our calculator will show people if they qualify under the new rules announced by the Chancellor.
“And even if they don’t qualify now, it’s worth checking again if their situation changes, or in April, when the entitlement will be extended further.”
How to check your right to universal credit after a rule change
EntitledTo’s Benefits Calculator has the new rates so anyone checking out can get an idea of their entitlements after the rule change.
Anyone with inherited benefits should seek advice on switching to universal credit to make sure they are doing better because you can’t go back.
Some 600,000 additional families will qualify for assistance, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – a quarter of all working-age families.
And even some workers earning over £ 50,000 might now be eligible, depending on their circumstances.
And a single parent with two children who pays a monthly rent of £ 750 can now earn just under £ 52,000 before losing the chance to claim the allowance. Previously the figure was £ 44,500.
A couple with just one earner under the same circumstances can earn almost £ 59,000 in income before being cut, up from £ 49,300 previously, the think tank said.
Who is eligible for Universal Credit?
To be eligible for universal credit, you must be in low income or unemployed and over 18 years of age.
You, or your partner, must be of legal retirement age and live in the UK.
You will not be eligible if you and your partner have more than £ 16,000 in savings between you.
To find out if you are entitled to additional help following the changes in the progressive rate and the work allowance, you can use a benefit calculator.
You will need to provide details about your savings, income, existing benefits and pensions, expenses, and your council tax bill.
EntitledTo’s website has a calculator that includes the new rates.
How to apply for universal credit
You can apply for universal credit online by creating a gov.uk account or by logging into your old account if you have previously accessed benefits.
In order to receive the benefit, you must submit your request within 28 days of creating an account.
You will need this information to make a complaint:
- contact details for your bank, building society or credit union
- an e-mail address
- information about your accommodation, for example the amount of rent you pay
- details of your income, such as payslips
- details of savings and any investments, such as stocks or property you are renting
- details of how much you will pay for childcare if you are applying for childcare expense assistance
Failure to provide the correct information when you apply can affect when you get paid or how much you receive.
You’ll also need to verify your identity online, so you’ll need proof of identity such as a driver’s license, passport, or debit or credit card.
People struggling with bills or other charges while awaiting their first payment can apply for an advance.
Otherwise, you will have to wait five weeks to receive your money.
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