People who receive Universal Credit will see a boost to their payments from April, as the benefit is given a 1.7 per cent rise.
The increase will see around 2.5 million households better off following a five year freeze on the amount payable.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a payment that is made to help those who are on a low income, or out of work, with living costs.
It is paid in monthly installments, or twice a month for some people in Scotland.
The payment replaces Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.
Anyone who previously received any of these benefits does not need to do anything to move across to Universal Credit, unless your circumstances have changed, or you are contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
You cannot claim Universal Credit if you receive, or are entitled to, the severe disability premium.
How much will Universal Credit increase?
All working age benefits payments will rise by 1.7 per cent on from April 2020, marking the first time they have increased since 2015.
For 12 months, the government is increasing Universal Credit payments by £1,000, amounting to around £80 extra per month.
This increase will apply to all new and existing claimants.
Single Universal Credit claimants aged under 25 will see payments go up from £251.77 per month to £342.74.
Single claimants aged over 25 will see a rise from £317.82 per month to £409.89.
Joint claimants who are both under 25 will get an increase from £395.20 per month to £488.59, while those over 25 will see a rise from £498.89 per month to £594.04.
Who is eligible for Universal Credit?
To be eligible to claim Universal Credit, you need to meet one of the following criteria:
- you’re on a low income or unemployed
- you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- you’re 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
The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get.
If you live with your partner, their income and savings will be taken into account - even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.
To check your eligibility for Universal Credit, visit gov.uk.
How to claim
To apply for Universal Credit, you will need to complete an application form online.
To do this, you will require:
- your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you
- do not have one on 0800 328 5644)
- an email address
- information about your housing, such as how much rent you pay
- details of your income, such as 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
You will also have to verify your identity online, either via a driving licence, passport, or a debit or credit card.
If you and your partner live together, you will have to apply as a couple, even if you are not married.