Universal Credit: Who will is eligible and what income could be received?

Universal Credit provides income for people who are in financial difficulties. Traditionally, Universal Credit is used by people who can’t find work or have their prospects limited by certain disabilities. However, there may be a whole new wave of people who need the support as their income vanishes as a result of coronavirus actions.

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Thankfully, understanding eligibility for Universal Credit is easy to do for now.

As the government detail, people may receive Universal Credit if:

  •        The person is on a low income or out of work

  •          The person is 18 or over (there are some exceptions if the person is 16 to 17)

  •          The person is under State Pension age (or their partner is)

  •          The person and their partner have £16,000 or less in savings between them

  •          The person lives in the UK

For people who qualify for Universal Credit, the amount they receive will depend on their circumstances.

There are standard allowances or rates in place which people should receive as a minimum.

These allowances are split into four circumstances which are primarily based around age.

People who are single and under 25 will get a monthly allowance of £251.77.

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If the claimant is single and over 25 they will receive £317.82 a month.

Couples below 25 will receive £395.20 each or £498.89 if they are over 25.

These are the base rates and extra amounts will be added onto these according to specific circumstances.

Additional “elements” will be added onto a person’s claim which will affect the final payment amounts

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These elements focus around personal situations such as childcare and housing.

The full list includes:

• Child element
• Childcare costs element• Limited capability for work-related activity element (LCWRA)
• Limited capability for work and work element (not available after 3 April 2017)
• Carer element
• Housing costs element

It should be noted that there is a five week delay between application and receiving a first payment. 

Universal Credit is also paid in arrears so effective budgeting will be needed.

It is possible to receive advances on first payments but these advances will need to be paid back to the government.

Guidance on Universal Credit can be sought from the governments website, the Money Advice Service or Citizens Advice.

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