MARTIN Lewis has issued urgent advice to households earning less than £40,000 a year who could be missing out on extra cash.
The MoneySavingExpert founder said all families with an income less than this should check if they are entitled to Universal Credit.
Martin Lewis gave the warning while speaking to the Government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sports sub-committee.
He said: “My rule of thumb is if you have family income under £40,000, then you should absolutely check on a benefits calculator whether you are entitled to Universal Credit.
“I am not saying you are entitled to universal credit, but with that income, it is absolutely worth the ten-minute check.”
According to the charity EntitledTo, around 1.2million people are missing out on £7.46billion of Universal Credit.
That means those eligible but yet to make a claim could get an average of £6,216.
It could mean that you’re not getting money you are due to help pay for spiralling bills.
Claiming benefits now could also make you eligible for future cost of living payments as well.
How do I check if I’m entitled to benefits?
Simply visit MoneySavingExpert.com and fill in their 10-minute benefits calculator.
To fill in the calculator you’ll need details on your:
- Existing benefits
You’ll also need your partners details if you’re in a relationship.
All your persona details will be kept anonymous
The tool covers your entitlement to most but benefits, including Universal Credit.
The calculator will work out what you’re due in low income support. It will also flag up some (but not all) relevant non-means-tested benefits that depend on circumstances such as your health.
For further details on all the benefits on offer, visit the UK government website.
How much could I get in Universal Credit payments?
Here’s how much Universal Credit you can get if you find out you’re eligible:
Standard allowance (per month)
- For those single and aged under 25, the standard allowance is £265.31
- For those single and aged 25 or over, the standard allowance is £334.91
- For joint claimants both under 25, the standard allowance is £416.45
- For joint claimants where one or both are 25 or over, the standard allowance is £525.72
Extra amounts for children
- For those with a first child born before April 6, 2017, the extra amount is £290
- For those with a child born on or after April 6, 2017 or second child and subsequent child, the extra amount is £244.58
- For those with a disabled child, the lower rate addition payment is £132.89 and the higher rate is £414.88
Extra amounts for limited capability for work
- For those deemed to have limited capability for work, the extra amount is £132.89
- For those deemed to have limited capability for work or work-related activity, the extra amount is £354.28
Extra amounts for being a carer
Universal Credit claimants can get an additional amount if you’re caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours a week.
The amount you get a month is £168.81.
The uplift was announced by Jeremy Hunt as part of his Autumn Statement.
Costing £11billion, the move will help 10million households, after Mr Hunt said that he was committed to “protect the most vulnerable”.
The chancellor said those on Universal Credit will benefit by around £600 a year.
You can see the full list of benefits set to increase next year here.
How do I apply?
You can apply for Universal Credit online by creating an account on the gov.uk website.
You’ll need financial information like your bank account details, form of identity, evidence of how much you make (if anything) and what your outgoings are (like rent).
In order to access the benefit, you should submit your claim within 28 days of making an account.
You will then have to attend an interview at a Jobcentre Plus, which will be within 10 days of submitting your application.
If you have a disability or health condition you may also need a work capability assessment.
People who are struggling with bills or other costs while they wait for their first payment can apply to get an advance.
Otherwise you will have to wait five weeks to receive your cash.