As the 2018 – 2019 tax year is drawing to a close, you should be aware of the changes which could affect your personal finances in 2019. New tax rules will be coming into effect from April 2019 which could leave some people better off and some worse. In addition, certain state benefits will be changing slightly in 2019. Read this guide to find out what is changing throughout this year and how these changes could affect you financially.
You may be aware that the Universal Credit roll-out has been delayed by the Government as they were going to decide whether to roll-out the new benefit to another 3million benefits receivers. This decision has now been delayed and the number has been scalled back to just 10,000 receivers, the decision to roll-out the benefit to the 10,000 still has not been decided on.
The decision to pause the vote on this seems to have come after it was discovered the benefit was driving more people into poverty and hardship with an increase in food bank usage of 50% in areas where the new benefit has already been rolled-out.
Another story has been in the new recently regarding a woman who was left with £8 for the month to provide for her 2 children and had to use food banks to keep her children fed. She is taking her case to court as she believes the new benefit discriminates against those who are self-employed as she works in the entertainment industry and is classed as self employed. She says she would be hundreds of pounds a month better off if she quit working all together.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is 1 benefit that will replace Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Working Tax Credit. If you were previously receiving any of these benefits once the roll-out takes place you will be put on Universal Credit instead.
What This Means For You
Unfortunetly, until the decision to cancel the roll-out or change the way the benefit works not much can be said about what will happen for those who are due to be placed on Universal Credit in the roll-out. There are members of parliament fighting for the roll-out to be cancelled and for those who are already on it to be taken off and put back onto the benefits they were previously receiving. Amber Rudd has said she will not seek approval for the full roll-out to happen until success has been seen in the pilot scheme. Theresa May is still insisting Universal Credit will be fully implemented by December 2023.
Back in June 2016, the result of a referendum was that 51.9% of voters chose to Leave the EU. David Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister of the UK, and Theresa May replaced him. She triggered Article 50 on 29th March 2017. This legislation means that the UK has two years to negotiate our withdrawal with the rest of the EU states. However, the deadline is fast approaching. The UK is due to leave the EU at 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019. Theresa May has finally drafted an agreement with the EU, as well as a political declaration outlining future relations. UK Parliament will be voting on the agreement on 11th December 2018. It will then go to a vote in the European Parliament if it passes. If not, the UK could face leaving the EU with no deal, which would result in chaos. Formal negotiations on any official Brexit deal will only get underway when Brexit officially happens in March. This is what is happening and what could happen to affect the path of Brexit between now and then:
You can call 0844 248 2557 to check the Christmas opening hours for your local Jobcentre if you have an appointment.
Christmas and New Year is a busy time, and many places limit opening hours over the holidays. This can be stressful for people on benefits due to the cost of Christmas and limitations on transport. The DWP can apply sanctions or cut off benefits if claimants do not meet certain conditions, such as attending an appointment at a Jobcentre Plus. However, things might be easier due to early benefit payments for Christmas 2018. You also don’t have to worry about going to the Jobcentre on certain dates. This is when Jobcentres are closing for Christmas and New Year 2018:
Previously, the UK government provided a Disability Living Allowance benefit to help with the costs of a long-term illness or disability. Since 2014, the government has been phasing out DLA and replacing it with PIP. Only children under 16 years old can still apply for and receive DLA. For those who are 16 to 64, they will be asked to apply for the Personal Independence Payment instead. This offers between £22.45 and £145.35 each week, depending on how the condition affects the claimant’s day-to-day life. Before they can receive PIP, the claimant must undergo an assessment. The process includes submitting a 40-page application form and attending a face-to-face appointment where they’ll have to answer further questions on their condition. The assessment results in a score out of 12 according to whether or not they can complete 10 daily living activities and 2 mobility activities. PIP requires a minimum score of 8 to be eligible for the benefit. The process and criteria are different to DLA.