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.
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.
When will I get my benefit payments over Christmas and the New Year?
This is the question worrying many people across the UK as the festive holidays get closer. With presents for families and friends, and food for the celebration dinner, the month of December can be a difficult time financially. Over the holidays between Christmas and New Year, many businesses and public services close up. This includes local councils and banks. A few extra days without cash can make money struggles even worse. This is why the DWP and HMRC take the holidays into account. They adjust benefit payment dates to make sure claimants receive the money they need when they need it. If your regular payment will be due from 24th December to 2nd January, here are the new dates when you can expect to receive your benefits over Christmas 2018 and New Year.
Tax Credits are a state benefit which the UK government pays to eligible claimants. If you qualify for tax credits, you must fill out a claim form to apply for them. The Tax Credit Office could fine you up to £3,000 if you provide incorrect information. They will usually backdate tax credits up to 31 days before the start of your claim. You might have to ask them to do this if you are claiming other benefits. The amount of money that you will receive every week or four weeks depends on your circumstances, particularly your income. Working Tax Credit can top up low incomes, and Child Tax Credit can help with childcare costs. You can’t claim tax credits at the same time as Universal Credit because it’s replacing them.