If you’re unemployed, off work due to sickness or on a low income, you could be eligible for Universal Credit, a meanstested benefit to help you meet your basic living costs. You could work for an employer, be self-employed, have been recently furloughed or made redundant, or have had a reduction in wages and still be able to apply.
In response to the Coronavirus crisis, the Government has made changes to Universal Credit, including increasing the monthly standard rate, e.g. from £317.82 to £409.89 for single people aged 25 or over. It has also removed the ‘minimum income floor’, to help self-employed people whose income has fallen, and increased the allowance for private renters who need help with housing costs.
Who can claim Universal Credit?
You can make a claim if:
- you’re out of work or on a low income.
- you’re aged 18 or over (there are exceptions if you’re 16 or 17).
- you or your partner are under state pension age.
- you have less than £16,000 in savings - if you have a partner, their savings count too (if you are self-employed, some savings may not count if they’re for business purposes, for example tax. Full details are given below).
- you live in the UK.
- you currently receive any of the benefits that Universal Credit is replacing, for example Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support or Housing Benefit – and your circumstances have changed.
If you currently receive means-tested benefits, such as Working Tax Credits, but are thinking of applying for Universal Credit, check before you do so. You need to be aware that your existing payments will stop as soon as you apply. Universal Credit replaces these benefits and you will NOT be able to go back onto them in the future (you may, of course, remain entitled to some Universal Credit).
How to apply
Universal Credit is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. You can made a new claim by visiting www.gov.uk
While Universal Credit claims are normally fairly easy to complete, Citizens Advice offer a Help To Claim service that can assist you with the early stages of your claim. This is particularly helpful for people who have difficulty doing things online for any reason.
You can contact a Help to Claim adviser through their free phone service. Advisers are available between 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday:
England phone: 0800 144 8 444
England textphone: 18001 0800 144 8 444.
Ask for a translator if you need advice in a different language. If you require a British Sign Language interpreter, call the textphone number.
Wrekin Housing Group customers needing help and advice can contact their Housing Executive for a referral to the specialist Money Matters team.
Last updated: 30/11/2020 11:15