Universal Credit used to require that claimants attended physical meetings as part of the application process. This has been abolished in recent weeks as coronavirus continues to be an issue
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Rishi Sunak also made changes to how the payments work too.
He detailed that the minimum income floor would be temporarily abolished.
He also altered how advanced payments are repaid.
Originally, advance payments were repaid over 12 months but this has now been extended to 24, in an effort to help struggling families.
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One change that will likely be felt immediately by claimants will be the additional income promised.
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed in a recent statement: “I cannot promise you that no one will face hardship in the weeks ahead.
“So we will also act to protect you if the worst happens.
“To strengthen the safety net, I’m increasing today the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year.”
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While this will be helpful, some have commented that the monthly boost this will provide will be relatively small.
Thankfully, further support will be arriving in the coming days.
In 2016 George Osborne put a freeze in place which meant that benefit payments couldn’t rise.
In the new tax year, this freeze will end and multiple benefit payments will have their rates rise.
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The tax year runs from 6 April to the following April 5.
From next week, Universal Credit payments across the board will rise by 1.7 percent.
This will affect claimants differently as payments are based on individual circumstances.
It is not just Universal Credit that will see an increase.
The government has detailed that working-age benefits will also see a rise of 1.7 percent.
These benefits can include:
- Jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- Employment and support allowance
Claimants have plenty of resources to turn to if they are unsure of their entitlement. Aside from the government website, claimants can turn to organisations such as the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice for impartial guidance.
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