DWP update for millions as key payment confirmed in new official statement | Personal Finance | Finance


Extra help is on the way for families struggling with money, the government has announced.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will be working hard to support people who are finding it tough to pay for things.

This was announced as part of the government’s plan for long-term growth.

Lots of people have been asking about when the next payments to help with the cost of living will be. But there were no plans for any more cash in the Spring Budget statement or its other documents.

Instead, the Chancellor has decided to keep the DWP‘s Household Support Fund going for another six months. This is one of a few ways they’re trying to help people who are still finding it hard, reports Birmingham Live.

But some people who campaign for disability rights aren’t happy because there won’t be any more one-off payments for the next financial year, reports Birmingham Live.

The DWP is also planning to bring in strict new rules for people claiming Universal Credit about looking for work.

The Spring Budget documents say: “In response to the energy crisis, the Government has shown that it’s committed to helping the most vulnerable by providing one of the biggest support packages in Europe. The total support in 2022-23 and 2023-24 to help households with the cost of living is £94 billion an average of £3,300 per UK household.”

“At Autumn Statement 2023, the Government announced benefits uprating and further cost of living support for 2024-25, building on the substantial package of support already provided since 2021. Working age benefits will be uprated by September 2023 CPI of 6.7 per cent from April 2024. This is 3.6 percentage points higher than forecast earnings for 2024-25 and will help support the most vulnerable whilst inflation continues to fall. As a result, 5.5 million households on Universal Credit will gain £470 on average in 2024-25.”

“The Government is continuing to provide targeted support for the most vulnerable as inflation continues to fall. To help households with the cost of essentials such as food and utilities, the Government is providing an additional £500 million to enable the extension of the Household Support Fund in England from April to September 2024.”

The announcement continued: “Despite the overall improved living standards picture, certain groups will continue to experience pressure on their living standards. In this context, the Government is taking further steps at the Spring Budget to support the most vulnerable whilst ensuring that decisions are fiscally sustainable.”

“Since July 2023, the Government has removed the premium paid by over four million households using prepayment meters (PPMs) bringing their charges into line with comparable direct debit customers and saving them around £25, via the Energy Price Guarantee (EPG). The Government also committed to removing the PPM premium on a permanent basis, following the end of the EPG in March 2024. As announced by Ofgem, we are delivering on this commitment removing the PPM standing charge premium on an enduring basis and saving PPM customers £50 a year. This will end the inequity of people with prepayment meters, many of whom are vulnerable, being charged more upfront for their energy than other consumers.”

“To support households struggling with problem debts, the Government is making it easier to access a Debt Relief Order (DRO). DROs are a personal insolvency debt solution for individuals who cannot pay their debts. At Spring Budget, the Government is removing the £90 administration fee from April 6, 2024. The Government is also raising the maximum debt value threshold from £30,000 to £50,000 and increasing the maximum value of motor vehicle that an individual can retain from £2,000 to £4,000, from June 28, 2024.”

Alongside this, the Government will increase the repayment period on budgeting advance loans taken out by claimants on Universal Credit from 12 months to 24 months. This will apply to new budgeting advances taken out from December 2024 and will reduce the monthly repayments on these loans, relieving financial pressure on low-income households on Universal Credit.

Svetlana Kotova, director of campaigns and justice at Inclusion London, said the Spring Budget was “another missed opportunity to support disabled people” and that the six-month extension to the Household Support Fund was insufficient. She called on the DWP and local authorities to ensure a greater proportion of households with disabled members can receive help from the fund.

She told Disability News Service: “The cost of living crisis continues, and we are disappointed there were no announcements for further payments and nothing to support disabled people with high energy needs. Instead, the budget reconfirms plans for tougher sanctions for disabled people who get benefits, including those who work.”

Paula Peters, from Disabled People Against Cuts, added: “The Government failed to renew the cost of living payments when the cost of living is still high high food prices, high energy costs and council tax across the UK has risen again. Renewing the Household Support Fund for another six months is not enough. With local authorities setting tough criteria to access the support, many are turned away.”

In the last two years, there have been a few one-time payments to help with living costs. These included £650 in 2022-2023, given in two parts to those on benefits like Universal Credit, and another £900 given in three parts to the same group of households in 2023-2024.

At the same time, people on disability benefits got £150 each year and pensioners received up to £300 extra on top of their Winter Fuel Payment.

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