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The furlough scheme was put in place for those forced out of work due to a lack of demand – but there was no such scheme for those who were already unemployed or who had started and lost their employment after a certain time. As a result, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak raised the baseline rate for Universal Credit back in March as coronavirus began to take hold of the UK.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the welfare scheme has been given a boost of £1,040 a year.
This equals an extra £80 to £90 a month on top of claimants usual payments.
Pandemic or no pandemic, how much Universal Credit you get in total depends on your circumstances.
For example, if you’re single and under the age of 25, you’ll get £342.72 per month.
If you’re age above 25 and not in a couple, the monthly payment is £409.89.
If you’re in a couple where both are under the age of 25, the total amount you both will receive is £488.59.
For couples aged 25 or over, you will both receive £594.04 in total per month.
Changes were made to how benefits are claimed at the beginning of the pandemic – with the need for a face-to-face interview scrapped.
Will Universal Credit go back down after COVID?
The Government has not made any announcements regarding the return of UC to its original amount.
Speaking in the Commons answering a questions regarding the UC increase, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I am proud that we have been able to uprate it in the way that we have, and we will continue to support people across the country, with the biggest cash increase in the national living wage this year.
“The result of Universal Credit so far has been that there are 200,000 fewer people in absolute poverty now than there were in 2010.
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“It is vital that we tackle poverty in this country.
“That is why this Government are so proud of what we did with the national living wage.
“We are putting another £1.7 billion into Universal Credit by 2023-24.
“If that does not give him the answer he wants, he can ask again next week.
“We will continue to support people and families across this country, and we will continue to spend £95 billion a year in this country on working-age welfare.
“But the best thing we can do for people on Universal Credit is to get this virus down, get our economy moving again and get them back into well-paid, high-skilled jobs – and that is what we are going to do.”
More recently, Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi told the BBC’s Nick Robinson that he can not pre-empt the fiscal changes that Rishi Sunak might pursue on Universal Credit in the future.
Mr Zahawi said: “We have put more money in local government to help families, we have put more money into Universal Credit.”
Mr Robinson interjected: “But you will also know that baked into that Universal Credit system unless you do a U-turn is a plan by the Chancellor to take £1,000 away from millions of low income-households.
“The Resolution Foundation has estimated that it is six million households.
“So unless you reverse that benefit cut the advantages that people saw during the lockdown will not continue.”
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