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.
Last week, chancellor Philip Hammond delivered a speech announcing the new Budget from HM Treasury. He also claimed that these financial plans would result in the end of this long and exhausting era of austerity. However, it can be difficult to read through all of the information in the Budget to see if this is really the truth. Despite promises of more savings for many taxpayers, these savings may actually be lower than suggested.
September 2018 will see thousands of children across the UK turning 16. These children, born from 1st September 2002, can then manage their own Child Trust Fund. Some parents might have forgotten about this savings account since its introduction in 2005. While the scheme ended on 1st January 2011, any children born between these dates should have some amount of money waiting for them in their own Child Trust Fund.
The blue badge scheme is to help disabled people or people who struggle with their mobility to get around and park closer to their desired destination. You can contact the blue badge helpline on 0843 178 3390 to find out more.
There are lots of reasons you may be able to qualify for a blue badge, here are some of them:
you are legally/registered as blind
you receive the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA)
You like in Northern Ireland or England and you have been given 8 points or more ‘moving around’ activity of personal independence payment (PIP)
To find out more qualifying reasons you can look at the disability rights UK website, the GOV website or you can call the helpline/your local council.
If your application is denied you council must tell you why you are not eligible and you can request to be reconsidered. If your mobility condition worsens you can reapply.
When you are applying you will need:
a passport photo
you national insurance number or NHS number
driving license number
How To Apply For A Blue Badge In Scotland
Applying for a blue badge in Scotland is practically the same process as applying in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can call the helpline on 0843 178 3390, speak to your local council or apply online.
There are a few qualifying reasons limited to Scotland and Wales:
You reside in Scotland and previously had an indefinite or lifetime award of higher rate mobility component of DLA which has been terminated following a PIP re-assessment.
You live in Scotland and have been awarded 8 points or more in the ‘moving around’ activity or 12 points in the ‘planning and following journeys activity’ of PIP.
You live in Scotland and previously got a fixed-term award of the higher rate mobility component of DLA, have not been awarded the appropriate points at a PIP re-assessment (as stated in the above) and have asked for a mandatory reconsideration of the decision within the last year.
To apply you will need your national insurance number of NHS number, driving licence number and your passport photo.
Blue Badge Tracking
You can track the application of your blue badge application on the GOV website. When you have made your application you will be sent a tracking number that you will need to enter on the above website under ‘tracking reference number’. You will also need to enter your last name or your organisation name. Once you have entered these details you can click ‘find’ and your application will be pulled up with its current progress.
Blue Badge Application Form
The blue badge application form can be found here on the GOV website. Alternative ways of requesting the application forms include contacting the helpline on 0843 178 3390, as well as contacting your local council to find out if you are eligible or to request for the forms to be sent to your home in the post.