Universal Credit made 'more generous' by Chancellor says expert
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Benefits come in all manner of forms, from help with rent to topping up your monthly wage. As Christmas approaches, some changes are on the horizon for claimants, so what’s changing with benefits before the end of the year?
Early Christmas payments
For those claiming Universal Credit, payment will hit your bank earlier this year.
The tricky replacement bank holidays are to blame – as Christmas takes place on a weekend.
Christmas this year is a Saturday, meaning replacement bank holidays are held on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 for both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Anyone who gets paid on any of the bank holiday dates will receive their benefits the Friday before Christmas.
Which this year is Christmas Eve – Friday, December 24.
Read More: Pensioner shares her frugal food recipes to help others live off 50p
More people can apply for Universal Credit
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his October Budget 600,000 more families will be eligible for Universal Credit.
From December 1 at the latest, there will be changes introduced to the taper rate.
You will be able to apply if you have a job – as the changes mean employed claimants can get more.
The taper rate has been reduced from 65 percent to 55 percent, which breaks down as follows
For every extra £1 earned, the benefit payment will be reduced by 55p.
This means claimants gain back an extra 8p per £1.
Christmas bonus for claimants
Some benefit claimants will receive a tax-free £10 bonus.
You will be eligible for this bonus if you get one of the following benefits during the qualifying week. The qualifying week is normally the first full week of December.
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Disability Payment
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit – the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
Working tax credits are changing
If you receive working tax credit there are some important changes to be aware of.
During the pandemic, people who claim tax credit haven’t needed to make HMRC aware of the number of hours they have worked.
But from November 25, any changes to working hours will need to be declared to HMRC.
If your working hours change and you don’t tell HMRC, you could face a fine of £300.
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