DWP Launches New Online Universal Credit Guide to Help People Apply for Financial Support
Nearly a million people across the UK could miss out on thousands of pounds in universal credit payments, a charity has revealed.
Turn2Us estimates that Â£ 15bn has not been claimed, which averages out to around Â£ 2,900 per unclaimed benefit, simply because many people who are currently working do not realize or think they are eligible to apply for universal credit.
A common reason people do not receive financial support from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is due to a lack of understanding of the eligibility requirements for universal credit and how of which even if someone is working, he might qualify for the benefit.
New applicants may not be entitled to the full amount of the allowance, but they may be eligible for elements of it, such as a reduction in municipal tax or assistance in the payment of rent. It could also help supplement the wages of low-income people or grant to people over retirement age through the retirement credit.
In the past, people with low incomes applied for work tax credits, however, this is a legacy benefit that is being phased out as applicants migrate to universal credit.
Recent changes to the progressive rate and work allowance rule mean that more than 500,000 people who were previously ineligible for universal credit can now benefit from additional financial support and those who already receive it. The allowance could be better off up to Â£ 1,000 per year.
To help more people claim the benefit, the DWP has launched a new step-by-step guide to applying for universal credit on the GOV.UK website. here which has six simple steps with links to relevant subsections on the website.
The steps include:
- Check if you are eligible
- Create and count and make a claim and find out how your claim is assessed
- Request an advance on your first payment
- Get your first payment
- Report any change in circumstances
Learn more about each section on GOV.UK here.
Below is a quick overview of how to apply for universal credit, including eligibility, the documents you’ll need, and the current payment rates.
How to apply for universal credit
The UK government says a person can get universal credit if:
You are low income or unemployed
You are 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you are 16 to 17)
You have not reached retirement age (or your partner is)
You and your partner have Â£ 16,000 or less in savings between you
You live in the UK
If you live with your partner, their income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.
Please note that you will not be able to claim any means tested benefits if your capital and savings exceed the limit of Â£ 16,000.
However, your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account for claiming the ânew styleâ jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) and this particular benefit. can be obtained at the same time as universal credit – or on its own.
The “New Style” JSA is a membership benefit. This means that you may be able to get it if you have paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the two full tax years preceding the year for which you are applying.
It is paid every two weeks and if you qualify you can get the JSA “New Style” for up to 182 days.
If you are eligible for both âNew Styleâ JSA and Universal Credit, any âNew Styleâ JSA you receive will count as income for Universal Credit.
To apply for universal credit, visit gov.uk website here and for more information on applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance, read more here.
Universal credit payment rate (monthly rates shown)
Joint applicants under 25: Â£ 403.93
Joint applicants, one or both 25 years or older: Â£ 509.91
What if you had a job?
There is no limit to the number of hours you can work while applying for universal credit, but only low-income people are eligible, and this threshold depends on individual circumstances.
The amount an active person receives depends on what they earn.
It decreases as someone earns more – for every Â£ 1 an applicant earns in their job, their payout will be reduced by 55p with the aim being for their payouts to gradually decrease until they are financially independent.
That is, unless the person is eligible for a work allowance, which includes those who have responsibility for a child and those whose ability to work is affected by a disability or health problem .
In these circumstances, they will be able to earn up to a certain amount without affecting their benefits.
The fixed amount is Â£ 335 per month for people who already have extra help to cover accommodation costs, and Â£ 557 per month for people who do not.
For anything they earn above this amount, the Â£ 1 to 55 pence rule will apply.
You may be able to get money to help pay your housing costs. The amount you get depends on your age and your circumstances, but the payment can cover rent and some service charges.
If you are a homeowner, you may be able to get a loan to help pay the interest on your mortgage or other loans you have taken out for your home.
What documents do you need to apply for universal credit
You will need:
Contact details for your bank, building society or credit union
An e-mail address
Information about your accommodation, for example the amount of rent you pay
Details of your income, for example payslips
Details of savings and investments, such as stocks or property that you rent
Details of the amount you pay for child care if you are applying for child care expense assistance
Failure to provide the correct information when you apply can affect when you get paid or how much you receive.
Verifying Your Identity Online
You will need an ID for this, for example your:
Debit or credit card
To apply for universal credit, visit gov.uk website here
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You can also use an independent benefit calculator to find out:
These calculators are free, anonymous, and can indicate any benefits you are missing out on.
Where to find help
This new online tool is the first to fully integrate vested benefits, including the new Scottish Child Payment.
It provides a free and impartial assessment of entitlement to a range of benefits such as universal credit, crisis grants and support payments.
Information on income related benefits, tax credits, local tax reduction, care allowance, universal credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start working or change your working hours
Information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, counseling tax reduction, care allowance, universal credit, how they are calculated and how your benefits will be affected if you start working or change your working hours
Information on income-related benefits, tax credits, contribution-based benefits, local tax reduction, care allowance, universal credit and how your benefits will be affected if you start working
What you will need
You will need specific information about your:
Income, including that of your partner
Existing benefits and pensions (including anyone living with you)
Expenses (such as rent, mortgage, child care expenses)
Municipal tax invoice
For more information on Universal Credit, visit the GOV.UK website here.
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