Universal Credit is intended to provide support for people who are out of work or who are on a low income. To be eligible, in most cases a person must be over the age of 18, but under state pension age and resident in the UK. The individual in receipt of Universal Credit must also have less than £16,000 in savings.
Universal Credit has been important for many people as the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were first felt last year.
However, in 2021, the payments Britons can expect from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are due to undergo change.
The government has released full details on the benefit rates it will be implementing for the 2021 to 2022 tax year.
These rates, as the current situation also lays out, differ dependent on a person’s circumstances, but tend to be based on age and relationship status.
It is worth noting increases are also on the horizon for those who are entitled to additional sums under Universal Credit.
Those receiving money for their children, childcare costs, or people who have limited capability for work will also note increases.
In 2020, households in receipt of Universal Credit saw a boost to their payments.
The sum was raised by £1,040, approximately £20 per week, due to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
However, the measure was only intended to be a temporary one, for one-year only, to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
It is not yet clear if the measure will be extended beyond April 2021, or whether it will be made into a permanent increase.
Recently, a number of charities called upon the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the support, and to also offer a similar increase for those on legacy benefits.
However, the government previously said it would make the decision in 2021 – meaning this could be nearby.
People should be prepared for the temporary boost to come to an end, unless the government announces otherwise.
Universal Credit payments are issued monthly to those who are eligible.
However, some people in Scotland may be able to receive a payment twice a month.
For those who are hoping to gain a bigger picture of the sum to which they are entitled, the government has offered direction.
Britons are encouraged to use an independent benefits calculator which is free to use and anonymous to determine what they can claim.
Such tools are available through Turn2Us, Policy in Practice, and entitledto.