UNIVERSAL CREDIT payments are set to see a change next year, with these changes affecting all Universal Credit claimants and some other recipients of certain benefits. Who is the change going to affect – and how?
December is officially underway, and 2020 is just a matter of weeks away. Next year will see a change in the Universal Credit payment, as the government has confirmed it will end the benefits freeze in April 2020.
The government announced in 2015 that it would no longer increase benefits payments in line with prices – meaning that the payments didn’t go up, despite inflation affecting the cost of living.
It was due to end in April 2020, and last month, the government confirmed that the freeze would not be extended.
In April 2020, working-age benefits will rise by the rate of inflation in April 2020 – which is 1.7 percent.
This will include Universal Credit payments, with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimating around 2.5 million people on Universal Credit will see their payments from the benefit rise by this amount.
Millions of legacy benefits claimants are also set to receive the increase, with a total of more than 10million people benefiting from the rise, the DWP said.
Legacy benefits affected by the announcement are:
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Child Tax Credits
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Benefit
Will Universal Credit claimants be better off?
According to the Resolution Foundation, families will be £580 a year worse off due to the past five years of bills rising but the working-age benefits staying at the same amount.
The Resolution Foundation’s Adam Corlett said: “While the benefit freeze is over, its impact is here to stay with a lower income couple with kids £580 a year worse off as a result.”
Under current plans, the gap for the past five years will not be made up, as benefits will rise in line with future prices, rather than making up for past rises that have been missed.
How much is Universal Credit?
The Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard monthly amount, which is dependent on a person’s circumstances – such as whether the claim is for a single person or a couple, and whether the claimant or their partner are 25 or older, or not.
It may be that a claimant is also able to get certain additional amounts, depending on their situation.
For example, it may be that a person can get an extra amount if they have children, need help paying their rent, or have a disability or health condition which prevents them from working.
A Universal Credit recipient’s circumstances are assessed every month, and what a person is paid may change.
The benefit cap may limit the total amount that a person receives.
How is Universal Credit paid?
Universal Credit is paid once a month, usually into the claimant’s bank, building society or credit union account.
It normally takes around five weeks to get the first payment. If a person needs help with their living costs while waiting for this first payment, they can apply for an advance.
This advance is a loan, and must be paid back with repayments starting out of the first payment.
While the benefit freeze is over, its impact is here to stay with a lower income couple with kids £580 a year worse off as a result