HARD-UP benefit claimants could get a MONEY BOOST to help them when they struggle to pay bills – and it’s worth up to £812.
The money is known as a budget advance – but you don’t get it entirely for free – you have to pay it back.
Benefits, such as Universal Credit, are designed to help cover living expenses if you are low income, unemployed, or unable to work.
But sometimes the welfare system can leave you short.
Particularly for UC claimants, a maximum of £812 they may be entitled to can be another lifesaver.
The cash boost is designed to help people pay for unexpected payments, such as a vital appliance breaking down or you need to cover funeral expenses.
As the money is a loan, anyone taking the aid will have to repay it.
This is done a bit at a time from your future Universal Credit payments, or through other means if you no longer get Universal Credit.
For example, it may come from your salary or some other benefit you may receive.
We tell you everything you need to know about money, how you can get it, and when you need to pay it back.
What is the single payment?
The one-time budget advance of £812 can be taken on top of your normal monthly payments.
It’s designed to help you with any emergency payments that you’re unable to cover with your regular Universal Credit checks.
The money can be used to pay unexpected bills or unexpected payment increases, or even to replace appliances like a refrigerator if yours breaks down.
You may also be entitled to the money to pay for goods or training related to getting a job or to stay at work.
How do I apply for Universal Credit?
HERE’S everything you need to know about applying for Universal Credit.
You will have to apply to the new social assistance system via the gov.uk websitestarting with creating an online account.
To create an account, you will need an email address and a phone number.
After that, you will have to answer a series of questions about your current situation, known as a “to do list”.
These include the date you last received payment for a job, your household income, and the number of people who depend on you financially.
If you have lost your job, Citizens Advice recommends that you do not apply until you have received your last salary or holiday pay.
This is because any money you receive after applying for Universal Credit will be considered income and means you are entitled to less on your first payment.
You will then need to confirm your identity online.
In certain circumstances, you will be able to apply by phone, such as those who do not have regular internet access, are visually impaired, or have a physical condition that prevents you from using a computer or smartphone.
To do this, you will need to contact the Universal Credit Helpline to ask if you can make a request over the phone or arrange a home visit.
In this case, someone can call them on your behalf if you cannot call them yourself.
Who is eligible to make a claim?
There are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to make a claim.
You must have received Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for at least six months or more.
This must be the case to claim the extra money, unless you need it to start a new job or to stay at work.
You must have earned less than £2,600 in the last six months, or less than £3,600 between you if you are in a relationship.
Additionally, you must have repaid all previous versions of the budget advance in order to be eligible for a new cash amount.
How much can I get?
How much you can get depends on your ability to repay the loan and your savings of more than £1,000.
Your first £1,000 of savings will be ignored, but the loan amount offered to you will be reduced by £1 for every £1 you have beyond that first £1,000.
It also depends on your situation, such as how many children you have.
- The lowest amount you can get is £100.
- The total maximum you can get is £812, but that’s only if you’re a couple with children.
- If you are a couple without children, it is a maximum of £464.
- The maximum you can get is £348 if you are single with no children.
How can I claim payment?
To claim payment, you will need to log into your Universal Credit account online and write to your Work Coach to request one in your journal.
Your coach will then be able to let you know if you are eligible for assistance and if so, how much you are entitled to.
You can also call the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644 to discuss the process and apply.
Phone lines are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and you will normally get a decision the same day.
Before receiving the loan, you will be assessed on your ability to repay it. To do this, the DWP will review all your other outstanding debts.
People who apply in advance are usually informed of the result the same day.
Should I pay it back?
Since the payment is a loan, you will have to repay it. This must be done within 12 months of receipt.
Refunds are automatically deducted from your Universal Credit payments the first month after you take out the loan.
You can calculate the amount that will be deducted from your payment each month by dividing the total cost of the loan by 12.
So if you’ve borrowed the full £812, you’ll see around £68 taken from your Universal Credit payment each month.
If you stop getting Universal Credit, you’ll need to find another way to pay it back.
If you switch from Universal Credit to another benefit, repayments will continue but from that new method of income instead, and it will not end until the advance is fully repaid.
According to Citizen’s Advice, the rules on childcare under Universal Credit are unfair and make it harder for Britons to find work.
The system is not without flaws, as millions of people have already been kicked out of their Universal Credit logs due to a massive internet outage.
Plus, there are six things you’ll want to be aware of that could cause your benefits to end – we also explain how long that cut could last.
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