‘Best way’ to check if you’ll be better off on Universal Credit – benefit roll out by 2024

Rishi Sunak baffles MP with claims Universal Credit is 'generous'

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Certain changes in circumstance could mean people claiming different benefits might be better off receiving Universal Credit. According to charity Turn2us, a benefit calculator may be the “best way” to check this. However, Britons have been warned that not only will they not be able to switch back once they have claimed, they will also have a five week wait to receive their first payment.

The charity has explained that benefit claimants “will be moved onto Universal Credit eventually”, but this move will have transitional protections in place.

Data published by the Commons Library in March of this year suggests the current expectation is for Universal Credit to be rolled out by 2024.

All those claiming legacy benefits and tax credits should be moved across to Universal Credit by September of that year.

Claimants will be invited to a transition process and will receive payments during the move to ensure they are not worse off.

However, Britons who choose to switch to Universal Credit of their own volition will not receive the same protections, making it all the more important that they understand the potential consequences of this decision. 

Turn2us answered some common questions Britons may have when considering this move, as well as some vital points for them to consider before making a decision. 

They suggested Britons use a benefits calculator, with Turn2us hosting one, to check what benefits they are eligible for and how much they would receive. 

Britons receiving Working Tax Credits or Child Tax Credits should stop receiving payments as soon as they have made a claim for Universal Credit.

However, Turn2us asserted the tax credit department of HMRC have on occasion been slow at cancelling claims.

This could result in claimants receiving accidental payments when they are not supposed to, which they will then have to pay back. 

People receiving tax-free childcare will have their account closed as soon as their claim is made. 

The following benefits will stop two weeks after making the Universal Credit claim:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support.

People receiving council tax reductions or support because of the benefits they receive should let their council know that they have made a claim for Universal Credit.

Generally, people who have made the choice to start a Universal Credit claim will not be able to move back onto their old benefits, but this has one exception. 

People who have been victims of identity fraud, with claims for Universal Credit made in their name but without their knowledge, should be able to reverse this process.  

When it comes down to the numbers, Turn2us highly recommends using benefit calculators.

Their website states: “Some people do find they are better off on Universal Credit and some do not. The best way to check is to use our Benefits Calculator to see what you’re able to get under the two systems.”

Once the claim has been made, people should be aware that they will not receive payment for the first five weeks – this is part of normal Universal Credit processes.

People can take an advance loan if necessary to see them through this time period, which will be paid back through deductions in their Universal Credit payments over 24 months. 

Advances are usually 25 percent of the standard allowance one will receive, resulting in the following rates:

  • £64.33 per month for single people under 25
  • £81.21 per month for single people aged 25 or over
  • £100.98 per month for couples where both parties are aged under 25
  • £127.48 per month for couples where one or both are aged 25 or over.

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