Universal Credit claimants could get ‘little-known’ discount

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Claimants of Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance may be able to greatly reduce their travel costs with a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card. Card holders can get 50 percent off selected rail tickets so the scheme could provide big savings for someone looking for work outside their area.

To be eligible for the ticket, a person must be unemployed and be claiming:

  • Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance for three to nine months, for 18 to 24 year olds
  • Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance for three to 12 months, for claimants aged over 25.

The cards are given out on a case by case basis at the discretion of each Jobcentre Plus office so there is no guarantee a person will receive one if they request one.

Those on other benefits may be able to get a travel discount card after they have received benefits for three months and if they are actively engaged with a Jobcentre Plus adviser.

The card may be able to be used to buy a variety of tickets. For example, the Avanti West Coast website says it can be used to get 50 percent off anytime tickets, advance fares, off-peak tickets and season tickets, up to three months.

Many train operators have information on their website about how the discount card can be used to purchase tickets

Benefit claimants will get a boost to their payments next month as many benefits, including Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance, are increasing by 10.1 percent.

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These will be the monthly Universal Credit standard allowance rates from April 2023:

  • Single under 25: £292.11 (an increase of £26.80)
  • Single 25 or over: £368.74 (an increase of £33.83)
  • Joint claimants both under 25: £458.51 (an increase of £42.06)
  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £578.82 (an increase of £53.10).

People on Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance are also to receive a £900 cost of living payment over the coming financial year.

This will be paid in three instalments with the first amount of £301 arriving in people’s bank accounts in spring 2023, although the qualifying period for the benefit has yet to be announced.

The second instalment of £299 will be sent out in autumn 2023 while the third payment will go out in spring 2024.

Other discounts available to those on Universal Credit and other benefits include social tariffs on broadband which are offered by many providers.

This may be particularly important as broadband and mobile bills are set to increase from April.

Those on low incomes can also get a discount on their council tax or they may not have to pay any tax at all.

Again, this can provide a large saving as council tax rates are going up five percent in many parts of England from next month.

Claimants struggling to pay their rent can also apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, providing extra money to help cover the costs.

The local council has discretion to decide if a person should receive the funds, which do not have to be repaid.

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