Universal Credit boost: Is Universal Credit going up?

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Universal Credit is a government benefit paid to millions of Britons each month, boosting low incomes with payments for housing, income support, jobseekers allowance and more. Eligible claimants will receive a standard allowance based on their personal circumstances, and this is dependent on any current earnings.

Circumstances are assessed each month, and any changes can impact how much money you receive.

The amount of money a claimant will receive is made up of a standard allowance and any additional amounts which could be applied.

Top-ups to Universal Credit are paid to those who have children, have a disability or health condition which prevents people from working and for those who need help paying rent.

You can visit the Government’s benefits calculator here — to assess how much you could be eligible for.

Read More: Universal Credit UK: Healthy Start scheme payments to rise 

Is Universal Credit going up?

Universal Credit was given a boost in October for certain claimants.

From October 8, an increase in payments was introduced in order to bridge the gap between the old benefits and Universal Credit.

This was for claimants who receive Severe Disability Premium (SDP).

Severe Disability Premium (SDP) is extra money paid on income-related benefits.

This includes Job Seekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support or Housing Benefit.

SDP payments payment recognises living alone with a disability can lead to extra costs.

You can only get the Severe Disability Premium if you get an income-related benefit and you get the daily living component of PIP, the middle or high rate care component of DLA, Attendance Allowance, or AFIP.

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As of January 2020, SDP payments had been made manually, instead of being part of Universal Credit.

This meant claimants received two separate payments a month.

Now the system has been simplified, so those eligible will receive an increase to their Universal Credit payments of £120, £285, or £405, depending on individual circumstances.

While not a boost, it has also been announced self-employed Universal Credit claimants will not see the minimum income floor return until April 2021.

This means payments for those who are self-employed will not face a drop this week.

The Minimum Income Floor is an assumed level of earnings and is calculated using the “National Minimum Wage for your age group, multiplied by the number of hours you are expected to look for and be available for work”.

The Minimum Income Floor calculation also includes a “notional deduction for tax and National Insurance”.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor was originally due to end on November 12, 2020.

Without the Minimum Income Floor, self-employed people with earnings lower than the Minimum Income Floor may be receiving more financial support through Universal Credit than they would normally have.

However, Work and Pensions Minister Thérèse Coffey has now announced the suspension will be extended.

Dr Coffey said: “After careful consideration of the ongoing public health situation and the national working environment, the current easement of the suspension of the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit that was due to expire on November 12, 2020, will be extended to the end of April 2021.

“Regulations will be laid and made prior to November 12, 2020.”

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has also announced some will benefit from an increase to payments starting next year.

The DWP plans to launch a new winter package which will give extra support for children and families.

The package will see a rise in Healthy Start payments from £3.10 to £4.25 per week starting in April 2021.

The DWP also announced plans to launch a “Winter Grant Scheme” which will see local councils given £170million in funding.

This funding will be set aside with at least 80 percent to be used to support food bills and cover the period towards the end of March 2021.

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