Martin Lewis urges savers to reapply for Universal Credit as DWP updates assessment rules

Therese Coffey addresses plans for Universal Credit in Parliament

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Martin Lewis has issued guidance to Universal Credit claimants who may have seen their payments take a hit. Over the last year or so, millions have been forced to work from home and limit their activities and as such, many have built up their savings.

While this is a sensible action to take, it may have had an additional impact for those receiving state benefits.

Universal Credit can be claimed by those who are on a low income or out of work entirely.

However, should a claimant have more than £16,000 in savings, which can be split between partners, they will not be eligible for support.

Where claimants have between £6,000 and £16,000 in savings, their Universal Credit payments will be reduced on a tapered scale.

On this, Martin Lewis has provided a Universal Credit “tip” to those who have been rejected, or had their award reduced due to savings.

Martin detailed: “If you’re eligible for Universal Credit, but you or your partner has £6,000+ in savings, your award’s reduced.

“By £16,000+ you get nowt. This has impacted many during the pandemic, so they’ve used their savings.

“If so, the Govt has confirmed to us you can reapply/ask to be reassessed, based on the new lower savings amount.”

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Universal Credit claimants will likely want to do whatever they can to boost their payments over the coming months, as the DWP recently confirmed it will be removing the £20 uplift rolled out in early 2020.

Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, recently confirmed to MPs the decision to remove the £20 uplift had been a “collective decision” taken by ministers.

Ms Coffey said: “Ahead of October we will start communicating with the current claimants.

“We will make them aware that this will be being phased out and they will start to see an adjustment in their payments.”

Self-employed claimants may face additional penalties in the coming months as last week, Ministers confirmed Minimum Income Floor (MIF) rules will be reinstated in August.

The MIF can place caps on how much money is awarded to self-employed claimants- and as it is being reintroduced during the same period as the uplift is removed, freelancers could face two cuts in one month.

In light of this news, the DWP confirmed self-employed claimants will be given a month’s notice before the MIF hits them, with many not expected to be affected until next year.

Jobcentre work coaches will also be given new powers to suspend the MIF for up to two months at a time on a case-by-case basis.

Universal Credit payments themselves are designed to be tailored to individual claimants’ circumstances.

On top of the basic payments, additional allowances will be awarded for elements such as childcare and rent costs.

To make a claim for Universal Credit, people will need to head to the Government’s website.

When applying, claimants will need to provide certain information such as personal details, bank details and details on any applicable costs.

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