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Universal Credits claimants can also take advantage of these lifelines

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People on Universal Credit are being urged to apply for additional financial assistance if they are struggling to get by amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

The Department for Works and Pensions said: “If you are in financial difficulty you can get help and advice from the government, local councils and other organisations.”

The DWP’s advice comes as activists warned claimants are facing earnings cuts because payments can’t keep up with inflation.

People on Universal Credit have a variety of options to help ease the burden on household budgets and increase income. Here are 12 options for you.

prepayments







If you can’t make ends meet, you can ask for prepayments
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If you’re new to Universal Credit, you’ll have to wait about five weeks to receive your first payment. So if you’re overwhelmed with what you have during this time, you can ask for an upfront payment right away.

However, this upfront payment must be repaid in installments from future Universal Credit payments.

You can apply for advance payments even if you already have Universal Credit if you have notified the DWP of a change in your circumstances that entitles you to more money but have not yet received the increased amount.

To apply for UC advance payments, contact your Jobcentre Plus work coach, apply through your online account, or call the Universal Credit hotline on 0800 328 5644.

hardship payments

If your benefit payments have been stopped or reduced due to sanctions, you can apply for hardship benefits.

To receive such payments, you do not have to be able to afford immediate or most basic needs such as rent, food and heating for yourself or a child you are responsible for. You must also demonstrate that you have tried alternative sources of support, such as a charity, before claiming hardship payments.

You must apply for new hardship benefits for each UG assessment period in which you are affected by a sanction. These are also repaid in installments from future payments.

Alternate Payments

If you are experiencing financial difficulties or are behind on your rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply to the DWP for an Alternative Payment Arrangement (APA).

This means the way your benefits are paid could be adjusted in a number of ways to help:

  • Have your rent paid directly to your landlord
  • paid more than once a month if it helps you manage your expenses
  • Get split payments when you’re part of a couple

budget advance

People on Universal Credit may be able to get a budgeting advance of up to £812 to help with things like household emergencies or the cost of finding or staying in a job

This payment is a loan that you must repay through your usual Universal Credit payments. The minimum amount that can be borrowed is £100, with a maximum of £348 if you are single, £464 for a couple and £812 if you have a child.

To qualify, you must have earned less than £2,600 – £3,600 combined for couples – in the last six months and repaid any previous budgeting loans. You can apply through your Universal Credit account, at your nearest job center or by calling the Universal Credit Helpline on 0800 328 5644.

Cheap broadband







People on Universal Credit can try discounted broadband packages
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Those using UC can deduct £144 a year from their broadband bills. This has to do with social plan broadband packages offering discounted plans such as BT, Community Fibre, G.Network, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Virgin Media O2.

Social tariffs apply to broadband customers receiving means-tested government benefits such as Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance. View all available budget broadband packages here.

heating costs

The Affordable Warmth Scheme offers money to install central heating systems.

To qualify for grants, new central heating must include a boiler that uses radiators to heat your home, installed in dwellings that currently do not have, or have never had, a central heating system.

Reduced water bills

Anyone living in a household where someone claims benefits like UC could be eligible to have their water bills reduced under the WaterSure program.

This system allows customers to cap bills so they don’t have to pay more than the average household bill for their home, even if they use more than the average amount of water.

To qualify, individuals must be responsible for three or more children under the age of 19 who are in full-time education and live with them or live with someone who has a medical condition that requires significant water use.

According to the Consumer Council for Water, all water utilities offer discounted rates to low-income customers, with bills reduced by up to 90% in some cases.

living costs

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) help with rental or housing expenses such as rent arrears, rent deposits, or rent upfront when you move to a new address.

You can claim these payments from your local authority if you are applying for either housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.

If you have UC with a mortgage, the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) program can help homeowners get help with interest payments on their home loans or anything borrowed to cover repairs or renovations.

Free prescriptions and healthcare







Eligible beneficiaries can receive free prescriptions and get help with other medical expenses
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Universal Credit applicants can receive free prescriptions if they have either no income or a net income of £345 or less in the last four week assessment period. Individuals whose UC includes an additional amount for a child may also qualify.

Free prescriptions are also available if you or your partner are on UC with Limited Work Capacity (LCW) or Limited Work Capacity and Work-Related Activity (LCWRA) and have either no income or a net income of £935 or less in your last assessment period.

You can also get assistance for medical expenses such as dental work, eye tests, new glasses or contacts, trips to hospital appointments, and new wigs and fabric supports.

funeral expenses

Universal Credit applicants can receive a funeral payment if they are the spouse, close relative or friend of a deceased person, a parent of a stillborn child after 24 weeks gestation, or a parent or person responsible for a deceased child under the age of 16 are responsible (or under 20 in recognized education or training).

The payment is available to people receiving other benefits such as Income Support, Earnings-Related Jobseeker’s Allowance, Earnings-Related Employment and Assistance Assistance, Retirement Credit, Housing Benefit, and the disability or severe disability element of the Labor Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit.

No fixed amount is given, but it covers things like funeral or cremation fees, some expenses for moving the body or transporting the coffin and porters to the service, and round-trip transportation for you to attend the funeral.

It also offers up to £1,000 for related expenses such as the funeral director’s fees, the coffin, cars or flowers.

child costs

People on Universal Credit can get extra money if they have children, but there are other types of parenting support as well. For example, all three and four year olds in England can get 570 hours of free childcare a year.

The typical schedule is 15 hours per week for 38 weeks throughout the year, but you can choose to spread fewer hours over several weeks. Some children in the age group are also entitled to 30 hours of free childcare per week, which you can find out more about here.

Other government benefits

People who want to claim benefits regardless of income can apply for unemployment benefit (JSA) or new-style Employment and Assistance Allowance (ESA).

Individuals with health conditions or disabilities can receive Personal Independent Payments in addition to Universal Credit. A benefit calculator like the one on Turn2Us can help you determine other government benefits you may be eligible for.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/universal-credit-claimants-can-also-26765948 Universal Credits claimants can also take advantage of these lifelines

Fry Electronics Team

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