Universal Credit: Expert on ‘difficulty’ of monthly payment
Universal Credit payments can have deductions made to cover certain debts. Last year, some deductions were suspended as the pandemic continued but for many, these deductions will soon start back up again.
CPAG stated 63 percent of those who claimed Universal Credit between March and June 2020 are now having, or will soon have, deductions taken from their monthly payments.
Fortunately, where claimants have fallen on particularly difficult times or find themselves on low incomes.
Hardship payments can be claimed for by those who cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene because they received a sanction.
These payments will need to eventually be paid back through Universal Credit payments and they’ll be lower until everything’s fully repaid.
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Those who are having financial difficulties or are behind on their rent may see their landlords apply for alternative payment arrangements.
Alternative payment arrangements could see claimants:
- get their rent paid directly to their landlord
- get paid more frequently than once a month
- receive split payments, if they’re part of a couple
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Budgeting advances can also be claimed for by those who need help with emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker, getting a job or staying in work or funeral costs.
These advances must be paid back to the government and deductions will be made from Universal Credit payments until the debt is cleared.
The smallest amount that can be received from a budgeting advance is £100.
Those who are single can receive up to £348.
Those in couples can receive up to £464 and claimants with children could get £812 in total.
What will be awarded will be dependent on whether a claimant has savings of over £1,000 and how they can pay the loan back.
To get 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
Universal Credit payments are made up of standard allowances which range between £342.72 and £594.04 per month but additional amounts can be awarded for certain lifestyle costs.
Extra amounts may be awarded for certain elements such as childcare and rent costs.
Initial claims can be made online but the first payments will likely not come through for at least five weeks.
For those who cannot wait that long, they may be able to apply for advances which will allow payments to come through immediately so long as the claimant is eligible.
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