Universal Credit is made available to Britons through the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which aims to assist those who need a helping hand. Millions have put in a claim for the living support payment during the last few weeks, due to the challenging circumstances brought about by the lockdown measures imposed across the country. Job losses and furloughing has deeply affected many communities, with temporary support necessary to help them get by.
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While Universal Credit varies from person to person, there is a standard basic allowance the government has outlined.
Single people who are 25 or over can receive £409.89 in monthly standard allowance.
Those in a couple over the age of 25 receive £594.04 per month to split between them.
But it is important to note claimants can also receive additional support with their housing costs.
Housing costs can often make up a significant proportion of expenditure for many families, and the regular payments need addressing.
Those who are eligible for Universal Credit can receive help paying for their housing, in a method known as the housing payment.
This enables Britons to be able to pay their rent to either a private landlord, housing association or local authority, or assists with interest payments on a mortgage.
For those who own their property, assistance may also be provided to help meet some service charges.
Those in supported, sheltered or temporary housing arrangements can also be helped with their costs, so long as they are not receiving “care, support or supervision” through their housing.
The Universal Credit system also provides assistance with certain bills many Britons are confronted with regularly.
Eligible claimants who may have fallen on hard times can receive support with several measures implemented by the government.
Universal Credit claimants on zero earnings can receive BT Basic, a low cost phone service designed for people on low incomes to help with budgeting.
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People who have specific disabilities may also be entitled to a disabled facilities grant.
This local council grant, which could climb as high as £36,000, allows changes to be made to the claimant’s home to assist them in everyday life.
Examples include providing ramps, widening doorways, installing stairlifts, and adding lighting controls.
Those who have a Universal Credit payment which is not enough to cover their rent could receive Discretionary Housing Payments.
These provide extra money when a local council decides a claimant needs additional assistance to meet housing costs.
This can help cover a rent shortfall, rent deposits, or rent in advance if a person needs to move home amongst other circumstances.
These payments depend on a person’s local council jurisdiction, and so relevant websites should be checked or phone calls made to determine whether a claimant could be eligible.
To assist in the paying of energy bills, the WaterSure programme is available to those with a water meter.
It allows them to have their bills capped to ensure they do not cut back on water usage because of worry surrounding bill payments.
Those eligible for Universal Credit may also be able to receive a Council Tax reduction – so they are encouraged to check their individual circumstances on the government website to pursue this further.
There are also several government departments and charities which can provide guidance.
The Money Advice Service, Money Advice Trust and Citizens Advice can all point claimants in the right direction.
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