Universal Credit to council tax rebate – how to check if you’re missing out on hundreds

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State pension: People 'rely on the DWP' to get sums right

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Recently, one of the country’s leading economic think-tanks revealed that households face an income loss of £1,100 in the next year. This comes as inflation hits a 30-year record high and energy bills are forecast to go up by £693 annually as of next month. As a result, the Resolution Foundation reports that the average working-age household incomes are set to drop by four percent in real-terms next year.

The largest drops in come are predicted to be among the poorest quarter of households, which will see their incomes fall by six percent.

Torsten Bell, the chief executive of the Resolution Foundation, said: “The decision not to target support at those hardest hit by rising prices will leave low-and-middle income households painfully exposed, with 1.3 million people, including half a million children, set to fall below the poverty line this coming year.

“And despite the eye-catching one pence cut to income tax, the reality is that the Chancellor’s tax changes mean that seven-in-eight workers will see their tax bills rise.

“Those tax rises mean the Chancellor is able to point to a swift fiscal consolidation and significant headroom against his fiscal rules.”

READ MORE: Council tax reductions explained: Who is eligible to pay less and how to claim

Due to this worrying development, Britons are being encouraged to see what benefit payments they could be entitled to.

Across the UK, the DWP is responsible for the management and administration of benefit payments to those who are in need.

However, other benefit payments, discount schemes and bill concessions are available through local councils, devolved Governments and energy companies.

There are various online tools designed to help people find out what they could be eligible for, such as those hosted by Turn2us, entitledto and Policy in Practice.

Here is a list of the various financial support schemes people could be eligible for to beat the cost of living crisis.

Universal Credit:

Who is eligible?

Anyone who is on a low income or needs help with living costs can apply for Universal Credit. Those who are employed, self-employed or out-of-work can be eligible depending on their circumstances.

Claimants must be UK residents who are between the ages of 18 and 66 and who have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments.

How much is Universal Credit?

How much someone gets in Universal Credit depends on their circumstances. It’s made up of a standard allowance plus any extra amounts people are eligible for. Those who are single and under 25, can get £257.33 a month via the standard allowance.

Those who are single and 25 or over will get £324.84 monthly. People who are in a couple, where both are under 25 will receive £403.93 for the same period, for both people.

Those who are in a couple where either the claimant or their partner is 25 or over can get £509.91 a month.

How to claim

Applicants can put forward their initial claim online. They will need to create an account and must complete their claim within 28 days. People who live with partners will need to have accounts for them and their significant other.

When applying online, claimants will need their bank, building society or credit union account details, an email address, and access to a phone.

They will also need to prove their identity by having either their driver’s license, passport, debit or credit card or payslip.

This DWP benefit payment gives extra money to assist people who have reached state pension age, which is currently 66.

Pension Credit

Who is eligible?

This DWP benefit payment gives extra money to assist people who are of the state pension age, which is 66.

Pension Credit also helps with housing costs, including ground rent and various service charges.

Those who are interested in applying for this support will be able to get Pension Credit even if they have other savings or income.

Eligible people can get Pension Credit even if they have other savings or income.

How much is Pension Credit?

The payment tops up a person’s weekly income to £177.10 if they are single or their joint weekly income to £270.30 if they have a partner they live with.

Some claimants may get extra money if they have other responsibilities and costs, such as caring duties. The top up and extra payments are known as ‘Guarantee Credit’.

Those who have a severe disability might be able to get an extra £67.30 a week, if they get certain benefits, for example Attendance Allowance, the middle or the highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) .

How to claim

People who are interested in applying for Pension Credit can start their claim up to four months before they reach the state pension age.

Claimants can apply once they reach the state pension age but their application can only be backdated by three months.

To claim, applicants will need to provide certain details such as their National Insurance number and financial information, including their savings, investments and income.

People who have already applied for the state pension can claim Pension Credit online, and it’s also possible to apply by phone or post.

Council tax rebate

Who is eligible?

To address the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills, the Government launched a council tax rebate scheme offering households a discount on their bill.

Taking into account every person in the UK, this is the equivalent of 80 percent of households. Anyone who is not in the tax bands A to D will not be eligible.

What is the council tax rebate?

The council tax rebate for eligible households is worth £150 as part of a wider support package.

Earlier this year, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak also launched a similar £200 rebate scheme for energy bills, however this is a loan.

Instead of being deducted from the final bill, households who pay by direct debit will receive the £150 rebate directly to their bank accounts.

Energy bills support

Households who are struggling to pay their energy bills can reach out to their provider for assistance if needed.

Some energy providers will be able to provide an alternative payment plan for families in need which will be more suitable to their financial situation, according to Citizens Advice.

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