The Universal Credit increase of £ 20 per week will be extended for six months, it has been reported.
Under the £ 3 billion proposal, the benefit to 5.9 million people would not be cut by £ 85 a month on April 12, as planned, but would instead extend the current level by six months.
It follows months of pleas to prevent millions of people from diminishing the benefit, with ITV’s Robert Peston reporting that a plan has now been agreed, pending final approval by the prime minister.
In a blog post, the channel’s political editor – who has been given repeatedly leaked details of lockdown changes in the past – also claimed leave and the self-employed support scheme would be extended for the same period.
But a source told him, “They think it’s a tough stop after six months.”
No10 and the Treasury are still pushing for an announcement in the March 3 budget, although a source did not rule out that it would come sooner.
A source in Downing Street told the Mirror “we will continue to wrap our arms around people during the pandemic,” but did not comment on the specific reports.
Standard Universal Credit distributions were increased by £ 20 per week for the 2020/21 fiscal year due to the impact of the pandemic.
Who Can Get Universal Credit
Whether you can claim universal credit depends on your circumstances and where you live.
You can apply for Universal Credit if you have a low income or are unemployed.
Normally, you can only claim universal credit if you are 18 or older, but some people as young as 16 or 17 can get it depending on their circumstances.
And you usually can’t claim universal credit if you’re in full-time education or training, but people with certain circumstances can still apply.
You can get a benefits calculator to help you understand the benefits you could receive. You will be asked to enter information about your circumstances, and it will tell you which benefits you may be able to claim for. One of them could be Universal Credit.
Where do you live
The Citizens Advice Fitness Check will tell you if you live in an area where you can claim universal credit. Using this link will take you to the Citizens Advice website.
Universal credit is being introduced in stages, so even if you can’t claim universal credit now, it may become available in your area in the future.
If you want to make a claim for Universal Credit right away, visit gov.uk/universal-credit
What replaces Universal Credit
Universal Credit replaces:
- Child tax credit
- Housing allowance
- Income support
- means-tested unemployment benefit (JSA)
- means-tested Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Work tax credit
If you are already applying for these benefits or tax credits, you do not need to do anything now.
The Department for Work and Pensions will contact you before there are any changes to your benefits or tax credits.
If you receive these benefits or tax credits and your circumstances change in a way that would have meant that you would make a new claim to one of these benefits, you must now apply for Universal Credit instead.
If you receive any of these benefits or tax credits, they will be discontinued when you file a Universal Credit claim.
If you get tax credits, you can still choose to apply for universal credit depending on your circumstances, but doing all of your benefits that are replaced by universal credit will stop it.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has resisted pleas for months to make the rise permanent to prevent hundreds of thousands of families from ending up in poverty.
A previous idea by the Treasury to replace the £ 20 a week with a one-off payment of £ 500 or £ 1,000 was rejected by Secretary of Work and Pensions Therese Coffey.
The Resolution Foundation warned that extending the current rate by six months was “good news in the short term,” but not enough.
The think tank said today, “This would mean lifting the rise when unemployment was still high – expected to be 7.9 percent in July-September and 6.6 percent in October-December, compared to 5 percent now.
“Compared to sustaining the increase throughout the year, the poorest fifth of households would be on average £ 350 worse off by 2021-22.
A loss of this magnitude represents an average of 3.8 percent of the annual income of households receiving UC or tax credits.
You can keep up to date with the top news near you with CornwallLive’s FREE newsletters – enter your email address at the top of the page.
“It would leave the benefits system in a bad state, with unemployment benefits back to its lowest real level since 1991 in October 2021.”
The leave is currently ending on April 30, but Boris Johnson’s lockdown roadmap appears to be targeting some locations to remain closed or restricted after that date.