Universal Credit: What if I’m struggling to pay my bills? What can I claim?
While the UK economy struggles due to coronavirus, Universal Credit is an option many people are turning to. In the first two weeks of the UK coronavirus lockdown, almost one million people in the UK successfully applied for the benefit.
What if I am struggling to pay my bills?
Carlos Hagi, benefits expert at Citizens Advice, told This is Money paying the bills is “a major concern for so many people”.
He added: “The first thing to say, therefore, is don’t stick your head in the sand and let debts build up, there is a lot of help out there.
“Firstly, contact the firm that you owe money to and see what help is available.
“Many mortgage providers, for example, are allowing you to apply online for a payment holiday.
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“If your income has dropped, it’s also worth checking what benefits you may be eligible for, and whether you can help get help such as a reduction on your council tax bill.”
The Citizens Advice charity can offer support online or by phone if you are struggling to pay your bills.
You can call their Adviceline on 03444 111 444, or you can chat with an adviser online on their website.
Anyone seeking to make a new claim for Universal Credit should call the Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 1448444.
What can I claim?
Universal Credit is a Government benefit, intended to help you pay for your living costs.
What you are eligible to claim from Universal Credit will depend on your personal circumstances.
For those single and under 25, the monthly standard allowance is £342.72.
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Those single and 25 or over could claim a monthly standard allowance of £409.89.
For a couple both under the age of 25, the monthly standard allowance is £488.59, and a couple over 25 could claim £594.04 a month in total.
Universal Credit consists of a standard allowance, and extra amounts may be granted depending on your application.
For example, you may be eligible for top-ups on the standard allowance if you have children, or a disability or health condition which prevents you from working.
You may also receive extra support if you need help paying your rent.
Your eligibility for any Universal Credit will depend on your earnings and will reduce by 63p for every £1 you earn.
Universal Credit is a blanket benefit, which is replacing a number of previous benefits.
Universal Credit is replacing Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.
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