Benefit changes 2020: What are the benefit changes for April 2020?

Universal credit and state pension are just a couple of the benefits that are changing this year. Coronavirus has shaken the foundations of the economy and dramatic changes will be seen in the welfare system. Express.co.uk breaks down which benefits are changing in April.

Universal Credit

In order to lessen the impact of coronavirus on people’s finances, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an increase to Universal Credit.

The standard allowance will increase by £80 a month from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

This applies to new and existing Universal Credit claimants and is temporarily in place for a year.

State Pension

State pension normally rises in line with inflation, average earnings, or by 2.5 per cent, depending on what is highest.

Now, pensions will rise according to the 3.9 per cent average earnings increase last year.

This means an increase of £343 over the year, with pensions rising from £8,767.20 to £9,110.40 a year.

This is the biggest increase for pensioners in nearly 10 years.

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Benefit freeze ending

Since April 2016, there has been a freeze in working age benefits, affecting Jobseeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Child Tax Credits, Working Tax Credits, Housing Benefits, and more.

All of those frozen will be boosted in April 2020, with the benefits freeze ending.

Most welfare payments rise by 1.7 percent in line with inflation.

National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage increase.

The National Minimum Wage for those aged 24 and under is rising.

Apprentices will enjoy a 6.4 percent increase from £3.90 to £4.15, while under 18s will enjoy a rise from £4.35 to £4.55.

For those between the ages of 18 and 20 who are on the minimum wage a 4.9 percent increase will be seen, taking the hourly rate from £6.15 to £6.45.

And finally, 21 to 24-year-olds will receive 50 pence more, taking their minimum wage to £8.20.

Minimum income floor lifted

Just like Universal Credit, this change has been brought in due to the impact of coronavirus.

Those who are self-employed, claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay home or are ill due to COVID-19 will not have the minimum income floor applied while they are affected.

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Working Tax Credit Increase

The basic Working Tax Credit amount is normally £1,960 a year.

This year the amount is £20 a week higher, on top of the inflation uprating.

This applies only to existing claimants and will last for a year.

However, Working Tax Credit has been replaced by Universal Credit for most people.

Only those who get the severe disability premium can make new claims for Working Tax Credit.

Parental Bereavement Leave & Pay

From April 6, 2020, those who suffer a loss of their child will be entitled to two weeks’ statutory leave – Parental Bereavement Leave.

If you have been employed for more than six months, you will be able to claim statutory pay during this time.

The leave can be taken all in one go or in separate blocks within the first year of the death.

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