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:
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What is a PIP assessment?
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.
Continue reading Why PIP Assessments are Unfair for People With Autism
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.
Continue reading Your Christmas Benefit Payment Dates 2018 – 2019
What are Tax Credits?
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.
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What is National Insurance?
National Insurance is a form of tax which applies to your earnings for every pay period. This could be weekly or monthly according to your employer’s payment arrangements. It will be deducted from your wages along with Income Tax. If you are self-employed, you have to complete a Self Assessment tax return before paying both Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions. You must pay NIC if you are over 16 years old and in employment earning over £162 a week, or self-employment with a profit above £6,205 a year. You stop paying when you reach the State Pension age. If you don’t pay National Insurance contributions, you will not qualify to receive certain benefits. These include the State Pension, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Maternity Allowance, and Bereavement Support. You need an NI number to pay.
Continue reading A Guide to National Insurance