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What is Universal Credit and can I apply for it?

By B贸 | April 24th 2020

Universal Credit is a social security payment that was designed to simplify the benefits system. It is now available to many employed and self-employed people whose jobs and income have been impacted by coronavirus.

It鈥檚 a payment to help with your living costs and is paid monthly - or twice monthly for some people in Scotland. It鈥檚 much needed as according to a recent survey by YouGov one in 20 people have lost a job due to coronavirus and an estimated one in 11 people have had their hours or pay cut.

Who鈥檚 eligible? Universal Credit is based on household income and savings. If either you or your partner or spouse have savings of 拢16,000 or more you won鈥檛 be able to claim Universal Credit. If you have savings of between 拢6,000 and 拢16,000, the amount you get will be reduced. To find out if you are eligible click here and if you can apply, you can do this online via the Gov website. If you think you are eligible, don鈥檛 wait to apply as payments take around five weeks to come through.

So how much is Universal Credit? If you're single and 25 or over, you can get a monthly standard allowance of up to 拢409.89. You may get more or less than the standard allowance depending on your earnings (and your partner's if you live with them), whether you've got children and other factors.

NEW UNIVERSAL CREDIT STANDARD ALLOWANCE聽

Your circumstances and monthly standard allowance:

Single and under 25

拢342.72聽

Single and 25 or over

拢409.89聽

In a couple and you鈥檙e both under 25

拢488.59聽

In a couple and either of you are 25 or over

拢594.04聽

If you think you are eligible for Universal Credit, apply now as payments take around five weeks to come through

Can everyone get it? One of the factors determining whether or not you receive Universal Credit is how much you have in savings. If you or your partner have combined savings of more than 拢6,000 you'll get less universal credit, and if your household has savings of 拢16,000 or over, you won't be eligible for universal credit.

How do I apply? You can apply for Universal Credit online via the GOV website - you'll need information about your income, your housing situation and proof of your identity. If your application is successful, you鈥檒l get your first payment after around five weeks and on the same date each month after that.

Benefits and B贸

As B贸 is a second account to help you manage your spending money, you can鈥檛 get your Universal Credit paid directly into B贸. However, once your benefits are paid into your main bank account, you can then transfer whatever you have left after paying any bills, into your B贸 account and then B贸 can help keep track of your day to day spending.

Additional help available: Know your options and get help

If you're having trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments don't cover your costs, find out what else you may be entitled to. There are a number of options available:

  • Apply for an advance - You could get some money within five days rather than waiting weeks for your first payment. However, this is a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payments.
  • Alternative Payment Arrangements - If you need help with your rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA. This will get your rent payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.
  • Budgeting Advance - You may be able to get help from the Government to help with emergency household costs of up to 拢348 if you're single, 拢464 if you're part of a couple or 拢812 if you have children. This would be to cover things like if your fridge or cooker breaks. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
  • Cut your Council Tax - You may be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your existing ones aren't enough to cover your rent.
  • Next steps
  • You can apply for Universal Credit online via the GOV website.
  • For more information on coronavirus and claiming benefits check out the government鈥檚 Understanding Universal Credit site.聽聽
  • If you have any questions about claiming Universal Credit you can talk in confidence to a Citizens Advice Help to Claim adviser who can support you through the process.
  • If you need additional support or want help making your way through all the information out there on how to claim the benefits you may be entitled to, the Money Advice Service has a great step by step guide.

B贸 is part of National Westminster Bank Plc (鈥淣atWest鈥), registered in England and Wales (Registered Number 929027). Registered Office: 250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. NatWest is entered on the Financial Services Register and its Register number is 121878. The Financial Services Register can be accessed at www.fca.org.uk/register. NatWest's registered VAT number is GB 243852752.

B贸 is protected by The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Read more here.

* If you have accounts with B贸 and NatWest, the maximum you would be able to claim across all accounts combined is 拢85,000.

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