Universal Credit claimants were offered temporary support in 2020 as Chancellor Rishi Sunak uplifted payments by around £20 a week across the board. Despite facing pressure to extend this support, the Government has confirmed it will be reversed from September 30, 2021.
rightsnet went on to share a screenshot of what a claimant saw on their online account.
The screenshot said: “You have been getting an extra £86.67 each month since 27 April 2020.
“This is a temporary increase because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This increase will end soon.
“Your payment on September 27, 2021 will be the last time you receive this amount.
“Get help with managing your money in the ‘How to manage your Universal Credit claim” guide.”
In response to the Universal Credit changes, a Government Spokesperson said: “We have always been clear the uplift was a temporary measure; we have communicated this directly to claimants through their monthly statement and will continue to do so, including via individual claimant journals. Claimants can discuss tailored support on offer via Universal Credit with their Work Coach.
“Our focus now is on our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.”
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While impending reductions in payments may be worrying for claimants, there is still a range of support available which could boost the income received.
Claimants who are in financial difficulties could be entitled to a Budgeting Advance.
These advances are awarded to help with emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker, getting a job or covering funeral costs.
The payments from an advance come in the form of a loan and must be repaid through regular Universal Credit payments, which will be lowered until the debt is repaid.
What a person gets will depend on whether they have savings of over £1,000 and can pay the loan back.
To be eligible for a Budgeting Advance, all of the following must apply:
- They’ve been getting Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for six months or more, unless they need the money to help them start a new job or stay in work
- They’ve earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past six months
- They’ve paid off any previous budgeting advance loans
To apply for a Budgeting Advance, a claimant will need to sign into their online Universal Credit account and contact their work coach who will then tell them how to apply.