Pensions, Universal Credit and other payment rates from April
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The reminder comes as low income British families are struggling to pay for soaring energy bills and rising food and fuel prices amid news that inflation soared to 5.4 percent last month. With the energy cap predicted to rise a further £500 this April, people on benefits are being encouraged to seek financial help which might include an emergency loan.
Although borrowing money should always be a last resort – many households could find that this is now their only option.
People on benefits like Universal Credit can apply for up to £812 from the DWP to help them pay their bills and it doesn’t have to be paid back in one large lump sum.
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To get a Budgeting Advance from the DWP people will need to be:
- Receiving Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for six months unless they need the money to help you start a new job or stay in work
- Earning less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past six months
- Have paid off any previous Budgeting Advance loans
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How much a claimant will get depends on their circumstances and whether they are a couple and have children.
However, the minimum they can apply for is £100 with £812 set as the maximum.
Low income households should also check with their local council if they can get up to £100 from its Household Support Fund.
They should have received a letter already if they qualify but are advised to get in touch if they haven’t received notification.
Meanwhile, people on Universal Credit could also get additional financial help in the form of:
- Free prescriptions for people with zero income or those on a low income
- Free dental treatment
- Eye tests and discounted glasses
- Free school transport
- Free school meals
- Discounted childcare costs
- £150 towards school uniforms – dependent on the local authority
- Reduced council tax bills
- Capped water bills
- Half price bus or rail fares
- Free or discounted gym membership
- Help with new job costs
- Warm Home Discount Scheme of £140 off fuel bills
- £25 in Cold Weather Payments
- Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT
- £1,200 free cash on top of savings as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme
- Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme
- Maternity grant up to £1,000
- Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
- Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler or double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme
- Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments
- Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS
Britons can get up to three Budgeting Advances per year.
However, previous loans usually have to be paid off before taking out another.
To apply for a Budgeting Advance, people can add a note in their Universal Credit journal.
Alternatively, they could call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
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