MILLIONS of households on benefits including Universal Credit will get a payment boost worth hundreds of pounds next year.
In today’s Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt benefits will increase in line with inflation.
The move is set to cost the government £11billion in 2023-24, but will help 10million families, Mr Hunt said.
It’ll boost the payments for the average family on Universal Credit by £600 a year.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) usually uses September’s inflation figures to make the decision on uprating benefit and pension payments from the following April.
However, Hunt had previously warned his Budget won’t “completely protect people” from inflation.
The yearly inflation rate for September came in at 10.1%, compared to 11.1% for October.
Meanwhile, Tory MPs and campaigners had raised concerns that increasing benefits in line with wages, rather than inflation, would see real-term cuts for millions.
The Sun Money also called for a raise in line with inflation after data showed millions of workers would be hundreds of pounds worse off.
A recent analysis by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) found that while prices will be 17% higher for all households in 2023/24 compared to 2021/22, low-income households will see a 21% rise in prices.
This is because they spend a higher proportion of their income on necessities like energy and food.
It added that working couples on Universal Credit with two children would be £752 worse off in 2023/24 if benefits had risen with wages at 5.4% instead of inflation.
Jeremy Hunt today also confirmed new cost-of-living payments worth £900 for Brits on means-tested benefits.
Earlier this year, eight million households started receiving payments worth £650 each.
These are given to those who claim Universal Credit, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
How much will Universal Credit go up?
There are around five million people claiming Universal Credit.
The current standard allowance for single claimants over the age of 25 is £334.91 a month.
Based on the September inflation rate of 10.1%, these payments will increase by £33.83 a month to around £368.74.
This works out as an extra £405.96 a year, or £4,425 in total over 12 months.
Of course, how much extra you’ll get a month depends on your current benefit level.
To calculate yours, simply multiply your monthly benefit amount by 0.101.
The following nine benefits are also legally required to have their payments rise with the previous September’s rate of inflation each April:
- Personal independence payment (PIP)
- Disability living allowance
- Attendance allowance
- Incapacity benefit
- Severe disablement allowance
- Industrial injuries benefit
- Carer’s allowance
- Additional state pension
- Guardian’s allowance
How to get help
If you’re struggling with the cost of living crisis, here are some more ways to get help:
Council tax discount
Universal Credit claimants could get help with their council tax bills – and in some cases you could get a 100% discount.
Each council runs its own reduction scheme so how much your discount is worth depends on where you live.
Your circumstances will also have an effect on your discount, such as your earnings, households income, number of children you have and how many people live with you.
Your residency status and what benefits you’re entitled to will also have an impact.
Household Support Fund
Extra cash totalling £421m has been handed to councils to give out to struggling families.
The Household Support Fund previously included vouchers to spend in the supermarket and for buying kids clothes in one area and £100 cash in another.
The help you can get depends on your location and your circumstances.
You can find your local council using this tool and searching your postcode to see what help is available near you.
Cash for paying rent
There’s cash help for anyone struggling that’s available from your local council through the discretionary housing payment.
Anyone claiming Housing Benefit or the Housing Element of Universal Credit could be eligible if they are struggling with rent costs.
Each local authority dishes out the cash to those in need on a case-by-case basis and the amounts available can vary.
Here’s everything you need to know about who can get the cash and how to claim.
Water bills help
Some water companies offer bill help if you’re on a low income, or debt write-off schemes if you’re in arrears.
What you can get depends on your water company so you’ll need to contact them directly.
For instance one woman on Universal Credit slashed her bill by £600 a year thanks to a fund from Severn Trent water.
Many water companies also offer free water-saving devices that shave pounds off your bills.
Contact your supplier. Freebies include shower timers and buffalo bags, which save water with every flush. Check out savewatersavemoney.co.uk.
Large families on Universal Credit or other benefits may be eligible for a cap on their bills under the WaterSure scheme.
To qualify for the scheme you need to already have a water meter installed, and prove you need to use a lot of water.
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