Universal Credit: How to claim, how much you will get and payment dates
Universal Credit is a benefit which is designed to help Britons with their living costs. The payment is provided monthly, usually to those who are out of work or on a low income. The first payment of Universal Credit usually takes five weeks to be processed.
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It has replaced a number of benefits for some Britons, including Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Working Tax Credit.
The benefit has undergone significant change as a result of both the coronavirus pandemic, and the new 2020/2021 tax year.
The government has placed a £1,000 per year boost on the benefit to help those struggling during the crisis, in addition to the 1.7 percent increase because of the new tax year.
This figure will be in force for a year to protect families financially against the effects of COVID-19.
Different people are entitled to different amounts, however, the government has provided a chart on standard allowances for certain groups.
For those who are single and 25 or over, the monthly allowance currently stands at £409.89.
For those in a couple where either are 25 or over, the couple is entitled to £594.04.
The government also provides more advice on extra amounts Britons could be entitled to if they have children, or a disability.
To apply for Universal Credit, there are certain documents and pieces of information required to provide the government with.
Britons will need the information of their bank or building society, alongside an email address and information about their housing situation.
They will also need to provide the government with details of their income and savings.
To qualify, the potential claimant will then be interviewed through Jobcentre Plus, although with the coronavirus crisis, this will have to be carried out remotely.
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The Department of Work and Pensions has arranged an alternative process, which it will explain to potential claimants within the process of application.
While it usually takes five weeks for the payment to be issued, claimants can also apply for an advance if struggling to make ends meet.
There have recently been an increase in complaints because of the demand for the service due to coronavirus.
Some have reported waiting hours on the phone to make a claim.
As a result, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has advised people to fill in online forms to claim.
5,000 more staff members have been employed to help manage the increase in demand, with a new frontline team given the responsibility of reaching out to claimants.
Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has said the Universal Credit system needs to be re-analysed because of coronavirus.
He said: “I think we have to consider the nature of the system and whether or not we do need to ensure that we better support the vulnerable.
“We keep that constantly under review and I think it’s important that we do recognise that it’s a very, very difficult economic time for very many.”
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