Universal Credit changes explained as claimants are notified of cuts – 'And so it begins'

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Universal Credit claimants were offered boosted support in 2020, as coronavirus continued to impact the economy. In March 2020, all Universal Credit claimants were offered a temporary £20 increase to their weekly payments and while the Government has been urged to extend this, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed the uplift will be withdrawn from September 30, 2021.

Today, it emerged the first signs of the removal have begun to come through.

The welfare charity rightsnet illustrated how claimants are being informed of their impending reductions in payment.

The charity said: “And so it begins…

“Looks like claimants are now being advised of the date of their last payment of the universal credit ‘uplift’ via their online accounts.”

rightsnet then shared a screenshot of what a claimant has seen on their online account.

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Payments

Universal Credit payments are about to be cut (Image: GETTY)

This screenshot said: “You have been getting an extra £86.67 each month since 27 April 2020.

“This is a temporary increase because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This increase will end soon.

“Your payment on September 27, 2021 will be the last time you receive this amount.

“Get help with managing your money in the ‘How to manage your Universal Credit claim” guide.”

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As it stands, Universal Credit is split into four standard allowances, with extra elements added on top of this to cover certain costs such as rent and childcare costs.

These standard allowances are based on a claimant’s age and relationship status.

Single claimants under 25 can currently get £344 per week, which will go down to £257.33 when the uplift ends.

Those who are over 25 and single can get £411,51 at the moment, which will reduce to £324.84.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit demand rose in 2020 (Image: EXPRESS)

Joint claimants under the age of 25 will see their payments reduce from £490.60 to £403.93.

Couples who have at least one person aged above 25 will see their payments reduce from £596.58 to £509.91 per week.

Overall, many charities and experts expect the uplift removal will hit around six million UK households.

These families are set to face a reduction of £1,040 a year.

Many charities have urged the Government to reconsider the cut as families continue to struggle with coronavirus and its impacts.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation warned half a million people, including 200,000 children, would be pulled into poverty as a result of the uplift removal.

Despite this, the DWP and wider Government has remained adamant that the uplift must be ended as the economy reopens.

In recent weeks, Boris Johnson, when questioned on Universal Credit during a committee appearance, insisted: “The emphasis has got to be about getting people into work.

In response to the Universal Credit changes, a Government Spokesperson said: “We have always been clear the uplift was a temporary measure; we have communicated this directly to claimants through their monthly statement and will continue to do so, including via individual claimant journals. Claimants can discuss tailored support on offer via Universal Credit with their Work Coach.

“Our focus now is on our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which will support people in the long-term by helping them learn new skills and increase their hours or find new work.”

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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