Universal Credit: Expert discusses benefits of claiming
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Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced millions of people on benefits would receive hundreds of pounds in Cost of Living payments last week, but it’s not the only financial help available from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Millions of Britons who receive Universal Credit, legacy benefits and Pension Credit could claim thousands of pounds worth of savings.
This help is usually available to those on Universal Credits, tax credits and Pension Credit.
During the pandemic, the number of people claiming Universal Credit almost doubled to 5.8 million people.
Some 40 percent of those are in work but claim Universal Credit to top up their income.
New claimants might not be aware they can apply for additional financial support as Universal Credit acts as a gateway benefit to 30 additional ways to save money.
This includes free prescriptions, a discount on Council Tax and free or cheaper broadband.
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Approximately £15billion is lost in unclaimed DWP benefits every year, something campaigners are highlighting as millions of people struggle amid the cost of living crisis.
The older generation is the most likely to be missing out, according to figures from Age UK.
More than a quarter of a million (260,000) older people don’t claim Housing Benefit although it could be worth £4,000 per year.
In addition, nearly a million (850,000) older people don’t apply for Pension Credit which would entitle them to help with housing costs, a free TV licence and money towards energy bills.
Universal Credit claimants can also apply for a budgeting loan adding up to £812, if they are a couple with children.
This could be to help with unexpected costs and can be paid back over a period of 12 months.
Britons who rely on disability benefits like Personal Independence Payments (PIP) could even apply for a grant worth up to £30,000.
Meanwhile, expectant mothers can apply for a maternity grant of £1,000 which doesn’t need to be paid back.
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30 Universal Credit freebies you may be able to claim:
- Reduced council tax bills
- Capped water bills
- Half price bus
- Discounted rail fares
- Free or discounted gym membership
- Help with new job costs
- Warm Home Discount Scheme of £140 off fuel bills
- £25 in Cold Weather Payments
- Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT
- Cheap BT phone calls
- Free prescriptions for people with zero income or those on a low income
- Free dental treatment
- Eye tests and discounted glasses
- Free school transport
- Free school meals
- Discounted childcare costs
- £150 towards school uniforms – dependent on the local authority
- £1,200 free cash as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme
- Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme
- Maternity grant up to £1,000
- Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
- Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler
- Homeowners can get help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme
- Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments
- Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS
- Free health travel costs
- Help with housing costs
- Help with funeral costs
- Bereavement support payments
- Reduced court fees.
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