Universal Credit payments not enough to live on for claimants – many are skipping meals

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Universal Credit is typically awarded to those who are on a particularly low income or who are out of work entirely. Claimants will usually need to be aged betweem 18 and state pension age, have less than £16,000 in savings and be living in the UK.

As coronavirus emerged, millions of people found themselevs dependant on Universal Credit but according to a new survey from PayPlan, the support may not be going far enough for many claimants.

Recently, the company conducted a survey of over 2,000 receipients, 1,034 of whom had been claiming Universal Credit.

the survey highlighted the financial trauma many have had to deal with this year, with 55 percent of respondants revealing they had to cut back on their food spending.

Additionally, 49.46 percent detailed they had been forced to miss a meal at some point because they couldnt afford food, with 54 percent going a whole day without eating.

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On top of this, 80 percent of Universal Credit recipieents admitted the payments were not enough to live on.

These circumstances may be worsened in the coming months as the government may take away the £20 uplift offered to claimants in early 2020.

Several charities and organisations have called on the government to extend this uplift or make it permanent.

Rachel Duffey, the CEO of PayPlan, commented: “This year has been incredibly tough for millions of households up and down the UK.

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“We are seeing an increase on people seeking debt help in the run up to Christmas and the demand will skyrocket in January.

“If you are struggling financially, I’d encourage you to seek debt help immediately as putting it off will leave you worse off in the long term.

“If you need help with putting food on the table, The Trussell Trust and other amazing charities are there to help as well.

“Far too many people need support now and we hope the Government will do the right thing and keep the £20 uplift in place as a bare minimum.”

It should be noted that while the Universal Credit payment uplift was planned to last for just a year, Rishi Sunak and the DWP have confirmed it will be reviewed and possibly extended in early 2021.

As Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, confirmed on November 25: ” The statutory annual review is separate from the temporary £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, which was announced by the Chancellor as a temporary measure in March 2020, and enacted for one year under different legislation to support those facing the most financial disruption as a result of the public health emergency.

“As the Government has done throughout this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families, which is why we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.”

Currently, Universal Credit claimants will receive between £342.72 and £594.04 as a minimum, with the amounts varied by age, relationship statuses and living arrangements.

Additional payments can be awared if other living elements are involved, including childcare and housing costs.

A claimant’s potential earnings will also affect how much is paid out.

Generally, Universal Credit payments will reduce by 63p for every £1 earned.

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