Universal Credit is a living support payment designed to help people with their day to day costs. The benefit is overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which issues the sum to claimants once every month. To be eligible to claim Universal Credit, a number of circumstances must apply, which the DWP will check.
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A person must be over the age of 18, but under State Pension age and living in the UK to make a claim for the benefit.
They must also have less than £16,000 in savings to be eligible, and either on a low income or out of work.
The benefit sum is then paid into a bank account or building society of a claimant’s choice to provide them with the financial help they need.
However, it is worth noting the circumstances in which a payment may be reduced, or stopped altogether.
This could prove damaging for those who rely upon the sum, so it is worth making note of.
The government website urges claimants to report any changes to their circumstances, so they can keep getting the right amount each month.
If a person does not report their change of circumstances straight away, their claim has the potential to be stopped or reduced.
There are a variety of different life occasions which count as a change of circumstance, and most have a bearing on how much a person is paid.
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These changes can include finding a job, having a child, changing bank details, a change in rent or moving to a new address.
A change of circumstance is also considered as beginning to care for someone else, such as a child or a disabled person.
Thankfully, though, a change of circumstance is fairly easy for claimants to report.
Signing in to a Universal Credit account online will allow claimants to easily update their circumstances to keep the DWP in the loop.
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However, there is one other serious circumstance by which a payment could be halted.
A person may find they have been paid too much if they didn’t report a change of circumstances straight away.
Overpayment could also occur if a person has provided incorrect information, or it could simply be an error.
But a claimant should always report this overpayment to the DWP as soon as they notice it.
If not, they risk not only having their benefit potentially stopped, but they could also have to pay a penalty or be taken to court.
Similar circumstances will be faced simply for failing to report a change in circumstances.
Universal Credit varies from person to person, however, the government has provided an outline on standard payments, based on age and relationship status.
Single people under 25 are entitled to £342.72 in standard allowance a month, whereas singletons over 25 can expect to receive £409.89.
Those in a couple where both are under 25 will get £488.59 to split between them, and couples where one or both are over 25 can receive £594.04 to share.
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