DWP urges thousands of people to see if they’re better off on Universal Credit

Universal Credit: Expert discusses benefits of claiming

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Universal Credit was first introduced in 2013 to replace six legacy benefits including Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits. While these are being gradually replaced by Universal Credit, claimants are being encouraged to check whether they would be better switching to the new system sooner rather than later.

The DWP said: “The campaign aims to raise awareness that Tax Credits are ending in 2024 and that many Tax Credit customers could be financially better off on Universal Credit.”

Not all Tax Credit customers will be better off on Universal Credit which is why they are being encouraged to check first.

The DWP said people should “seek independent advice before they apply” for Universal Credit which they can do by using a benefits calculator.

Once a change in circumstance has been triggered, Britons can’t return to the Tax Credits system because these legacy benefits are gradually being phased out.

The DWP has launched a new section on the Universal Credit website for Tax Credit customers to help people make an informed decision.

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On the DWP website it states: “If you choose to apply sooner, it’s important to get independent advice before you do as you will not be able to go back to Tax Credits or any other benefits that Universal Credit replaces.”

If your circumstances change, you may need to make a claim for Universal Credit anyway, because the legacy benefits that Universal Credit replaces are no longer open for new claims.

The DWP said more information about Universal Credit is being provided to Tax Credit customers as part of the renewal process.

Meanwhile, more than a million Britons could be owed £596 a month thanks to a recent Universal Credit rule change. 

Rishi Sunak cut the Universal Credit taper rate in his Autumn budget resulting in more families becoming eligible for the top up.

He cut the taper rate from 63p to 55p meaning people could earn hundreds more and still qualify for financial support.

The change was supposed to make two million Britons better off, but many still don’t know about it.

To find out people should input their details into the benefits calculator on Gov.uk.

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Other benefits that Universal Credit claimants qualify for include:

  • Reduced council tax bills
  • Capped water bills
  • Half price bus
  • Discounted rail fares
  • Free or discounted gym membership
  • Help with new job costs
  • Warm Home Discount Scheme of £140 off fuel bills
  • £25 in Cold Weather Payments
  • Free or cheap broadband from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BT
  • Cheap BT phone calls
  • Free prescriptions for people with zero income or those on a low income
  • Free dental treatment
  • Eye tests and discounted glasses
  • Free school transport
  • Free school meals
  • Discounted childcare costs
  • £150 towards school uniforms – dependent on the local authority
  • £1,200 free cash as part of the Government’s Help to Save scheme
  • Food vouchers for kids as part of the Healthy Start scheme
  • Maternity grant up to £1,000
  • Disabled Facilities Grant (up to £30,000) to make changes to a home
  • Homeowners can apply for up to £10,000 to pay for a boiler
  • Homeowners can get help to pay for double glazing as part of the Green Homes Scheme
  • Up to £300 in Winter Fuel Payments
  • Free wigs or fabric support provided by the NHS
  • Free health travel costs
  • Help with housing costs
  • Help with funeral costs
  • Bereavement support payments
  • Reduced court fees.

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