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People who receive Universal Credit were dealt a blow last year when the additional £20 per week added to help recipients navigate the pandemic was cut.
But finally, it looks as if good news is on the way as millions are going to get a pay bump in April.
The hike will come in on April 11 and will be in line with the consumer price index (CPI). The government's Department for Work and Pensions announced the change in November.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, also decreased the rate at which claimants lose their benefits – called the taper rate – to 55p. This means people get an extra 8p home for each extra pound they earn.
As well as all this, the Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, is set to go up this year by 3.1%. This is designed for people with long-term health conditions and disabilities.
People who are eligible will also be able to claim an extra £500 in work allowances.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is designed to help people pay for their living costs.
It gets paid to people monthly, although some people in Scotland may also get it two times a month.
It came in 2012 to replace a range of other benefits already in place like Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, and Working Tax Credit.
Payments are normally impacted by the claimant's age, living situation and whether they are single or have a family.
How much is Universal Credit increase?
The payment increase coming in April will be 3.1%, the same amount at the PIP boost.
The increase will work out at around £2.50 extra per week per single person who is 25 or older.
Here's what it will mean for different types of claimants and their monthly payments, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.
People on a Standard allowance who are single and under 25 will get £265.31 (currently £257.33) while people who are single and 25 or over will receive £334.91 (currently £324.84).
For those in a couple where both are under 25, £416.45 (currently £403.93) will be paid, while a couple where one or both is 25 or over will see £525.72 (currently £509.91).
Regarding child elements, the first child, if they were born before April 6, 2017, will add £290.00 (currently £282.60) and if they were born after April 6, 2017 – and additional children – will add £244.58 (currently £237.08).
For a disabled child, there are two rates. The lower rate addition is £132.89 (currently £128.89), while the higher rate addition is £414.88 (currently £402.41).
People with a limited capability for work will also get support. The new limited capability for work amount is £132.89 (currently £128.89) and the limited capability for work and work-related activity amount is £354.28 (currently £343.63).
For carers, the amount is £168.81 (currently £163.73).
Childcare costs are dependent on the number of children. The maximum for one child is staying at £646.35 and the maximum for two or more children is £1108.04, which also sees no change.
Non-dependants’ housing cost contributions will now be £77.87 (currently £75.53) and higher work allowances for one or more dependent children or limited capability for work are £573.00 (currently £557.00).
Lower work allowance, one or more dependent children or limited capability for work will be £344.00 (currently £335.00).
In a statement in the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Dr Therese Coffey, said: "All benefits will be increased in line with CPI – which was 0.5% in the relevant reference period.
“This includes working-age benefits, benefits to help with additional needs arising from disability, carers’ benefits, pensioner premiums in income-related benefits, Statutory Payments and Additional state pension.”
Who is eligible for Universal Credit?
Universal credit can be offered to people on a low income, who don't currently have a job or are unable to work.
The government website also lists the following requirements all people claiming credit must meet:
- live in the UK
- be aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- be under State Pension age
- have £16,000 or less in savings
People who live in Northern Ireland should visit Universal Credit for Northern Ireland.
- Universal Credit
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