More than 5.9 million people are currently claiming Universal Credit, a benefit designed to help those who are unemployed or on low incomes meet the costs of daily living.
September will see the end of the leave scheme, final grant requests from the Self-Employed Income Support scheme, and the end of the £ 20 weekly universal credit increase – which in itself creates an air of uncertainty for those who depend on state support.
With the possibility that more households will be affected by the economic impact of the health crisis, whether through layoffs, unemployment, illness or a reduction in wages, many will now be able to apply for financial assistance through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).
However, thousands of potential applicants may not know that when you apply for Universal Credit, the first installment can take up to five weeks and for those in immediate need of financial assistance, it is now possible to request a deposit.
However, it is important to know that this advance must be repaid as a deduction from their regular Universal Credit payment, however applicants now have 24 months to repay the loan, instead of the previous 12.
To request a Universal Credit advance you can:
talk to your Jobcentre Plus work coach
apply through your online account
call him Universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644
If a Universal Credit the applicant does not report a change in their situation, they could have their payment interrupted or reduced – this is called a sanction.
And if a person receives a sanction, they can apply for hardship if they cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs.
The GOV.UK website says, “If you don’t have enough to live on while you wait for your first payment, you can ask for a down payment after making a claim.
“You can also apply for hardship if you cannot afford rent, heat, food or hygiene needs because you have been sanctioned.
“You must repay it through your Universal credit payments – they will be lower until you pay them back. ”
People experiencing financial difficulties and having difficulty paying their rent can also apply for a Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).
This could see the rent being paid directly to an owner, the benefit paid more than once a month, or the payment shared between the person and their partner.
There is also a Budget advance which can help with some costs. These include:
It means their Universal credit payments will be lower until they pay it back, and if they stop getting universal credit, they’ll have to repay the money some other way.
How much can I borrow?
The smallest amount you can borrow is £ 100. You can get up to:
What an eligible person gets depends on their savings of over £ 1,000 and their ability to repay the loan.
To get a Budget advance, all of the following conditions must apply:
- You have been receiving universal credit, employment and support allowance (ESA), income assistance, jobseeker’s allowance or state pension credit for six months or more, unless you need the money to help you start a new job or stay at work
You have earned less than £ 2,600 (£ 3,600 together for couples) in the past six months
You have repaid all previous budget advance loans
To learn more about advances or prepayments and loan budgeting, visit GOV.UK website here.
Support is also available through hardship funds in all 32 Scottish councils – find yours here.
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