Five ways to get extra cash as universal credit cut runs into the millions
The increase in universal credit ends today with applicants expected to lose more than £ 1,000 a year.
The temporary £ 20 per week increase in universal credit introduced in April last year has been removed.
Millions of Britons have been affected by the cut, with some claimants saying they will have to choose between heating themselves and eating.
Debt charity StepChange warned today that only 28% of applicants will have enough to make ends meet after the reduction.
The reduction in benefits comes at the same time as the cost of living has skyrocketed, including an increase in the energy bill of £ 139.
Other Covid support programs have also ended, including time off, increasing pressure on struggling families.
The government has insisted that ending the temporary increase in universal credit is the right decision.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said this morning that it was “clearly unsustainable in the long term” to keep pandemic funding in place and that the increase in UC was “always going to be temporary”.
Check what other benefits you can get
If you are concerned about your finances as a result of the reduction in universal credit, the first thing to do is to verify that you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled.
Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert today asked Universal Credit applicants to check if they owe any extra money – and it will only take 10 minutes.
You can use an online benefits calculator to find out if you qualify for additional help.
There are a few to choose from – including Turn2Us and StepChange.
To make it easier for you, you should have access to financial information, including bank statements and details of your current benefits and housing costs.
If you live with a partner, you will also need to include their information.
Search for grants
Most councils offer local social assistance programs that can help cover basic costs.
Each program is different depending on where you live, but it can include food costs, payment for cheap used furniture, and help with energy bills.
You can find your local council on the government website and ask for details of the support available.
This year, the councils also received £ 500million to pay for a household support fund to help families still battling the pandemic.
It will help people pay for their food, bills and clothes this winter.
The program launched this month and most local authorities have yet to announce details, but it’s worth contacting your council for more information on how to apply.
Help with childcare costs
If you apply for universal credit, your children may be eligible for free school meals.
You should check with your local council or your child’s school to find out how to apply.
If you need help with the costs of school uniforms, your local authority may be able to help.
The government also provided the councils with a fund to cover vacation activities for children from low-income families.
The program took place during the Easter and summer holidays this year and will continue during the Christmas holidays 2021.
Families eligible for the free school canteen can attend the activities and holiday clubs at no extra cost.
Another way to cut costs is tax-free child care – check out our walkthrough on all the different ways to get free or discounted child care.
Support for the energy bill
You should also check to see if you can get help lowering your energy bills, especially since fuel costs have skyrocketed.
You could get up to £ 300 off your fuel payments during the colder months of the year with the annual tax-free benefit available.
Eligible retirees can receive one-time annual winter fuel payments from the government between £ 100 and £ 300.
Meanwhile, low-income households can get £ 25 per week to pay their energy bills during the winter through the cold weather payment scheme as well.
You will receive payment if the average temperature in your area is zero degrees Celsius or less within a week.
The Warm Home Rebate Program means you can make a payment of £ 140 which goes towards your heating costs.
It is not paid to you, rather it is a one-time discount on your invoice for the period between September and March.
Budgeted loan Universal Credit
Universal credit applicants can apply for an emergency loan if they have difficulty finding money
A budget loan is designed to help cover emergency costs, including household repairs, getting a job, or funeral expenses.
The smallest amount you can claim is £ 100 and the maximum for singles is £ 348.
It is £ 464 if you are in a relationship and £ 812 if you have children.
Since this is a loan, you will have to repay the entire amount.
You will have to pay it back through your regular Universal Credit payments – your payments will be lower until you write off the loan.
If you stop claiming universal credit, you will have to pay it back through other means, such as salaries or other benefits.
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