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Understanding Universal Credit, and how to claim it.

In the two weeks leading up to April, nearly 1,000,000 people have applied for Universal Credit benefits, usually this number is closer to 100,000. This is no surprise given that so many people now need the financial support in order to cope with the financial impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs, if you’re on low income or out of work – so if you’ve been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, whether your hours have been reduced or you’ve been made redundant, Universal Credit is there to help. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.


How do I receive Universal Credit?


You must apply for Universal Credit online, but before beginning your application it’s worthwhile checking your eligibility. You may be able to receive Universal Credit if:

  • You’re on a low income or out of work
  • 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 I am eligible, what will I receive?

Your Universal Credit is a single payment that is made up of different amounts depending on your circumstances. The payment will take into account:

  • Your earnings if you are working
  • Your partner’s earnings if they are working
  • Any other income that is coming into your household

Part of the Universal Credit payment is a standard amount for your household. This is known as your standard allowance. Your monthly amount will depend on whether you are single or in a couple, and your age.

Statistics from https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/new-to-universal-credit/how-much-youll-get/


From 6th April 2020, the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.


This means that for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.


Additional support from Universal Credit can be provided to cover; childcare, disability care, limited capabilities for work and housing costs. So be sure to visit the ‘How much you’ll get’ page on the gov.uk website.


Before applying for Universal Credit, you can use a benefits calculator to help you understand what benefits you could get. You will be asked to enter information about your circumstances, and it will tell you which benefits you might be able to apply for.


A very helpful step by step guide can be found on the gov.uk website, however if you require further assistance with making your claim you can contact the Universal Credit helpline directly:


Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Welsh language: 0800 328 1744

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

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