UNIVERSAL Credit is a common method those on low income use to get financial support – whether they have a job or are still looking.
Just how much financial help can you get from the state benefit?
On Universal Credit the standard allowance for single claimants over the age of 25 is £334.91 a month.
There are extra amounts for those with children, disabilities or health conditions, or if you’re looking after someone else.
There may be extra help for housing costs and the exact amount you get will depend on your circumstances .
Can I work while claiming Universal Credit?
Yes is the simple answer. However, Universal Credit is a monthly payment that reduces the more you earn.
That’s because it’s designed to help prop up those who want to get back to work but might not be able to for a number of reasons.
So you can work while claiming Universal Credit, but the more hours you work and the more you take home in pay, the more your payments will be reduced.
How much can I earn before Universal Credit is reduced?
For every £1 you earn your Universal Credit payments reduce by 55p – this is known as the taper rate.
It kicks in once claimants are earning above the Work Allowance, if they are eligible.
You get a Work Allowance if you (or your partner) are responsible for a child or have limited capability for work.
How much it is depends on whether you claim the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit.
The monthly work allowances are:
- £344 if you get help with housing costs
- £573 if you don’t get help with housing costs
How much you earn and whether you’ll be entitled to Universal Credit payments will depend on your circumstances.
The total amount of benefits you can receive is capped at £20,000 a year outside Greater London if you’re in a relationship or a single parent and your children live with you.
It is £13,400-a-year if you live by yourself.
Inside Greater London, the equivalent thresholds are £23,000 and £15,410.
How many hours can I work on Universal Credit?
There is no limit to how many hours you can work.
Universal Credit payments are calculated on how much you earn – not your hours of work.
You can use a benefits calculator to see how taking on extra hours might affect your payments though.
It’s not the hours themselves that affects it, but the fact you are earning more.
The way you’re paid can also affect your Universal Credit payments.
They are based on how much you earn in each monthly assessment period.
If you’re paid more than once in an assessment period then this can reduce your benefit payment.
For instance if you get paid every four weeks rather then monthly, you may have one month where two salaries fall in one assessment period.
As you’ve earned more for assessing Universal Credit, you’re entitlement can be reduced.
You can ask your work coach to move the wages into a different assessment period if this happens.
Will Universal Credit payments rise in 2023?
The Chancellor confirmed that the government will uprate benefits by inflation with an increase of 10.1%.
This will boost the payments for the average family on Universal Credit by £600 a year.
Inflation could rocket further to as much as 13.3% this year, the Bank of England has warned.
And some experts believe it could even hit 15%.
While a rise to benefit rates is good news, many could still be feeling worse off.
That’s because inflation is high now and prices are rising squeezing many people’s incomes – but the rise won’t come in until next year.
You can read a full list of changes to come for Universal Credit claimants next year here.
Otherwise, here’s how to log in to your Universal Credit account.
And here’s how much can you can claim and how to apply.
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