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Universal Credit has proved an important lifeline for many households up and down the country. The living support payment is designed to help those who are either on a low income or out of work. To be eligible, a person must be over the age of 18, in most circumstances, and under State Pension age.
They must also be resident in the UK, and have less than £16,000 in savings to make a claim.
The benefit sum is overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who is responsible for ensuring claimants are paid the right amount and on time.
It is paid monthly, or twice a month for some people in Scotland, to provide a regular source of income.
However, for those who are reliant upon the Universal Credit sum, they will need to pay close attention, or risk having their payment reduced or stopped entirely.
There are particular circumstances where this will happen to a payment that are worthy of note.
Those who claim Universal Credit usually enter into a ‘Claimant Commitment’ with their work coach.
This means they have certain responsibilities to uphold such as looking for work and paying rent.
If these terms are not met, then the benefit may be ceased or reduced by the DWP in a move known as a sanction.
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Sanctions are based on what a person has done and how often, so it is important to stay alert to avoid risking losing out.
Universal Credit can also be reduced if someone reports a change of circumstance which means they will get less.
This, for example, can occur if someone is paying back an advance, or has moved home.
Changes in circumstances must be reported straight away, or a claim could be stopped or reduced.
In addition, Universal Credit may also be reduced if a person begins work, or receives a pay rise.
Citizens Advice has explained: “For every £1 you or your partner earn, 63p will be counted as income when your Universal Credit is calculated.
“Your earnings are what you get from your employer each month after tax, National Insurance and pension contributions are taken off.”
Universal Credit is made up of a standard allowance and also any additional amounts which apply to a person’s circumstances.
This includes, for example, if a person has children, needs help with rent, or has a disability or health condition that impedes them from working.
The standard allowance, however, is based upon a person’s age and relationship status.
Single people under the age of 25 will receive £342.72 per month, while older single people are entitled to £409.89.
If a claimant is in a couple where both are under the age of 25, they are entitled to receive £488.59 to split between them per month.
Whereas, if someone is in a couple where one or both are 25 or over, they will receive £594.04 to share.
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