One million Britons missing out on Universal Credit plus 30 freebies
Universal Credit: Expert discusses benefits of claiming
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A staggering 1.3 million Britons aren’t receiving Universal Credit payments they are entitled to, according to data from the New Economics Foundation. This Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefit could be a lifeline to many people struggling to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis.
Some people are still unaware they could be eligible for a Universal Credit top up if they are working as the earning threshold changed in November 2021.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak slashed the Universal Credit taper rate, the mechanism that sees people’s benefits reduced as earnings rise.
The changes to the earning threshold meant that rather than lose 63p of benefits for every extra pound earned, people would lose 55p.
It meant thousands of Britons, who previously earned too much to be able to claim benefits, now qualify for the benefit, but many people are still none the wiser.
How much can I earn and still claim Universal Credit?
Martin Lewis recently said anyone with a family income of £30,000 or less should check whether they could be entitled to a Universal Credit top up.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert said since the threshold changed in November, more than one million people could now be eligible for up to £7,300 a year.
Approximately 1.3 million people are estimated to be losing out on Universal Credit payments which also acts as a gateway benefit to a possible 30 additional freebies.
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To check eligibility for universal credit, people can pop their details into a benefits calculator like the one on the Entitled to, Turn2Us or GOV.UK websites.
These will ask for the claimant’s age, employment details, whether they have children and if they are already claiming benefits.
These tools are free and easy to use.
Alternatively, people can phone the benefits helpline or pop into their local benefits office.
It’s not the only DWP benefit people are missing out on – approximately £15billion is lost every year in unclaimed benefits in the UK.
Almost one million (850,000) pensioners are thought to be losing out on Pension Credit which is paid to pensioners on a low income.
Pensioners are missing out on an average of £1,900 a year – money which would come in useful to many older people right now.
Pension Credit is also a gateway benefit and could open the door to a free TV licence and extra help towards energy bills and housing costs.
Universal Credit claimants could also benefit from thousands of pounds in extra help such as:
- 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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