The benefit has been a lifeline for many, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. During the Covid crisis, the number of Universal Credit claims surged by several million.
They are free to use and the user remains anonymous.
Universal Credit is paid monthly, although it can take usually up to five weeks for the first payment.
The person’s circumstances are assessed every month.
Changes in circumstances can affect how much the claimant is paid for the whole assessment period, rather than just the date the changes are reported.
How much is Universal Credit?
The payment is made up of a monthly standard allowance, which is dependent on circumstances, as well as any extra amounts which the person may qualify for.
Examples include if a person:
- Has children
- Has a disability or health condition which prevents them from working
- Needs help paying their rent.
The monthly standard allowance is currently as follows:
- Single and under 25 – £342.72
- Single and 25 or over – £409.89
- In a couple and you’re both under 25 – £488.59 (for both)
- In a couple and either of you are 25 or over – £594.04 (for both)
If a person has one or two children, they will get an extra amount for each child.
Those with three or more children can get an extra amount for at least two children.
They will also get an extra amount for more children if any of the following apply:
- The children were born before April 6, 2017
- The person as already claiming for three or more children before April 6, 2017
- Other exceptions apply.
“You’ll get an extra amount for any disabled or severely disabled child – no matter how many children you have or when they were born,” GOV.UK adds.
“You might get the extra amount if you start caring for another child, depending on when they were born and how many children you have.”
If a person has a disability or health condition, they may also get extra monthly amounts.
“If you get the severe disability premium you may also be entitled to an extra ‘transitional protection’ payment if you’re moving to Universal Credit,” the Government website also states.
It may be possible to get help to pay for housing costs, and how much a person gets depends on age and circumstances.
The money can cover rent and some service charges.
Homeowners might be able to get a loan to help with interest payments on their mortgage or other loans they’ve taken out for their home.