Martin Lewis: 500,000 more people now eligible for Universal Credit
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Universal Credit provides support to those who are on a low income or are out of work entirely. Those who face unexpected emergency costs may also be able to receive Budgeting Advances.
Budgeting Advances can help claimants cover the costs of emergency household costs such as replacing a broken cooker, getting a job or staying in work or funeral costs.
These advances will need to be repaid through regular Universal Credit payments, which will be lower until the debt is repaid.
If a claimant stops getting Universal Credit, they will need to repay the money through alternative means.
What a person can get from a Budgeting Advance will depend on how much they need and they’ll agree to this amount with their work coach.
The smallest amount a person can borrow is £100.
However, it is possible to get up to £348 if a claimant is single, £464 if they’re part of a couple or £812 if they have children.
To be eligible for a Budgeting Advance a claimant must have been getting Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or State Pension Credit for six months or more, unless they need the money to help them start a new job or stay in work.
Additionally, they’ll need to have earned less than £2,600 (£3,600 together for couples) in the past six months and have paid off any previous Budgeting Advance loans.
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To apply for a Budgeting Advance, claimants can update their journal in their Universal Credit account, contact their nearest jobcentre or call the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.
To be eligible for Universal Credit initially, a claimant must be living in the UK and be aged between 18 and state pension age.
They must also have less than £16,000 in savings.
Claimants can be working and be eligible for Universal Credit and it is also available to the self-employed and part time workers.
Universal Credit payments are made up of standard allowances along with extra amounts.
These extra amounts are awarded where people need help with certain living costs such as childcare and rent.
The standard allowances are based on a claimants age and relationship status.
Single claimants who are aged under 25 will get a monthly standard allowance of £257.33.
Single claimants aged 25 or over will get £324.84.
Those in couples, where both are under 25, will receive £403.93 (for both).
Where at least one of the couple is aged 25 or over, £509.91 will be issued.
It should be noted Universal Credit income, and other benefit payments, will be rising by 3.1 percent from April.
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