More than 1.3 million people could be missing out on Universal Credit payments of up to £7,300 a year, according to data from the New Economics Foundation. The number of Brits eligible for the benefit has skyrocketed thanks to a rule change in the Autumn Budget.
To find out more about the change, and whether you are now eligible, see money.co.uk’s quick and easy guide below.
James Andrews, Senior Personal Finance Editor at money.co.uk, said: “In November, Rishi Sunak slashed the Universal Credit taper rate, the mechanism that sees your benefits withdrawn as your earnings rise. As a result, thousands of people who previously earnt too much to be able to claim benefits now qualify for Universal Credit.
“To be exact, taper relief was changed so that rather than lose 63p of benefits for every extra pound earnt, you now only lose 55p. It means you can earn hundreds more before your benefits are reduced to £0.
“On top of this, the work allowance - which is how much you can earn before the taper rate applies - has gone up by £500 a year. Under the new rules, a single parent with two children and rental bills of £750, could earn up to £52,000 a year and still qualify, compared to £44,500 previously.
“Combine the two and people can now make more money each month without losing any of their benefits payments, and will lose less of any money they earn above the work allowance.
“With millions of Brits seeing their essential bills rise, the Universal Credit rule changes should not be ignored as a way of getting hold of some extra cash to help make ends meet.
“And thanks to a number of handy online benefits calculators, it’s simple to find out. Using sites like EntitledTo and Turn2Us, you can find out your benefit entitlement in less than 10 minutes - all you need to do is answer a series of simple questions about your living and work situations.
“If you are eligible, then monthly payments will vary between £344 and £596.58, depending on your circumstances. A single payment is paid into your bank account each month if you live in England or Wales, although you can apply for an alternative payment arrangement if you need additional support. In Scotland and Northern Ireland there is the option of payment every two weeks.
“For more information about what Universal Credit is and how it works, use money.co.uk’s comprehensive guide here: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/what-is-universal-credit.htm.”
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.