23 December 2019 03:05
A 'fundamental flaw' in Universal Credit could force claimants to get through Christmas with little or no benefits. Designed to 'make work pay', controversial Universal Credit tops up salaries for those on low incomes, as well as supporting people who are out of work. If you've claimed two pay packets within a month of each other, the system may view you as having been paid more than usual, and therefore no longer being entitled to your usual help. Bob Stronge, Advice NI chief executive, said: "Government says that it's all about work, making work pay and that Universal Credit will help make sure people are better off in work. " Universal Credit assessment periods run for a calendar month, so for example if a UC claimant has an assessment period which runs from 25 to the 24, they will in fact find that they have received two monthly wages in this assessment period (29 November & 20 December) and so may receive little or no Universal Credit at Christmas." The problem doesn't need to wipe out your Universal Credit claim: HMRC provide the monthly salary information to Universal Credit and it is possible for employers to report your payment as coming on the usual date, even if it's actually paid in early.
A Government spokesperson told Belfast Live: "Universal Credit is paid twice monthly in arrears, and is calculated using assessment periods. HARD-up Brits claiming Universal Credit may be entitled to half price travel fares over the festive season. You're also entitled to one if you've been claiming Universal Credit for three to nine months and are between the ages of 18 and 24. You'll need to have been claiming Universal Credit for three to 12 months before getting the card if you're over 25-years-old. What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit IF you're experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don't cover costs, here are your options: Apply for an advance - Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment.
You can also get extra help with paying your bills this winter if you're on Universal Credit, from cold weather payments to free NHS prescriptions. A family is facing a Christmas dinner of just sandwiches after being forced onto Universal Credit. As a result, Neil and Jo are forced to use their own money to keep the farm running and have been left with just £175 a week to live on with Universal Credit. For 17 years the couple worked in the prison system together, where they saved up money with the goal of setting up a community farm. Neil said: "At the moment we are really struggling, we have put everything that we had into setting up the farm, but due to the delays that we have had with planning, we have been forced onto Universal Credit. "We have had senior officers from the council come to the farm, including the chief executive Rob Walsh, showing it to people as an example of positive work going on the community, because we are helping children from Phoenix House and guiding them in a positive direction to turn their lives around. Universal Credit: All you need to know Universal Credit is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work. Income-related Employment and Support Allowance If you're in an area which offers a full service and are entitled to the benefits being replaced, you'll be asked to claim Universal Credit. If you live with someone as a couple and you are both entitled to claim UC, you will get one monthly joint payment paid into a single bank account. UC is paid monthly in arrears so it can take up to five weeks after you make your claim to get your first payment. Neil said that Centre4, who manage the site where the Nunny's Farm is based, have been working hard to address the planning problem.