Universal Credit UK: How to apply for support as £20 is set to be extended – full details
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Universal Credit claimants were offered additional support in March 2020, as Rishi Sunak boosted weekly payments by £20 across the board. This increase was meant to only last a year but as coronavirus continues to be a problem, it seems the Government will have no choice but to extend the uplift.
Yesterday, Robert Peston, the Political Editor at ITV News, reported the extension is awaiting a final sign off from Boris Johnson.
The news will likely be welcomed by many organisations and charities who have been calling on the Government to extend this measure for some time now.
This included StepChange with Richard Lane, the charity’s Director of External Affairs, responding to the news with the following: “If reports are correct, this would be a welcome step from the Government, which will have thousands across the country breathing a collective sigh of relief – the uplift has been essential in enabling many people to continue paying their bills and feeding their families.
“However, a six month extension risks simply kicking the can down the road, leaving households to face significant uncertainty when unemployment is expected to be at its peak.
“Covid has caused widespread and long-term financial difficulty which is exhausting households’ coping strategies.
“With financial resilience low, it is vital that an adequate safety net is there to prevent people from falling into significant hardship.
“The Government can shore up this safety net by committing to a longer-term extension of the £20 uplift, alongside other short-term measures, such as extending the Covid winter grant and bolstering support for renters to protect households from the looming threat of eviction.”
With financial difficulties expected to continue into at least the spring, many people may end up needing Universal Credit in the months ahead and so it is important to be aware of how the application process works.
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People may be eligible for Universal Credit if they’re on a low income or out of work, are aged between 18 and state pension age, have less than £16,000 in savings and are living in the UK.
Claims for Universal Credit are made online and people can claim support as a single individual or as a couple if they live with a partner.
When initially applying, claimants will need to have the following ready:
- Their bank, building society or credit union account details
- An email address
- Information about your housing, for example how much rent is paid
- Details of income
- Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that is rented out
- Details of how much they pay for childcare if they’re applying for help with childcare costs
Should a claimant need help with the application process they can utilise support from the Help to Claim service.
This is a free, independent, confidential and impartial service provided by trained advisers from Citizens Advice.
These advisors can help with elements such as how to gather evidence for the application or how to prepare for the first Jobcentre appointment.
Once an initial claim is put through, the DWP will make an appointment to talk with the claimant, either over the phone or face-to-face.
Universal Credit is usually paid once a month into a bank, building society or credit union account.
Initial payments can take around five weeks to come through.
After the first payment, the money will come through on the same date every month.
Should there be an issue with payments, claimants will be able to call a Universal Credit helpline.
Do you have a money dilemma which you’d like a financial expert’s opinion on? If you would like to ask one of our finance experts a question, please email your query to email@example.com.
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