I was asked to provide a short update by a friend about the changes to universal credit since the budget so here goes folks hopefully you will find this useful.
One of the major problems for claimants is the six week waiting period before the first payment has led to huge hardship, and rent arrears.
Phillip Hammond in the recent budget announced the scrapping of an initial seven day waiting period, meaning that the wait for Universal Credit should be reduced from six to five weeks from February 2018.
From January 2018, claimants will be able to access up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit entitlement in the form of an advanced this means claimants can also ask for up to a month’s worth of Universal Credit paid in advance. This amounts to an interest-free loan, which the claimant will have to pay back over a 12 month period.
In addition, from spring 2018, claimants will be able to apply for the advance payments online, with payment being expected within five days.
From April 2018, new Universal Credit claimants, who, at the point of claim, are already receiving support towards their housing costs, will be provided with an additional payment of two weeks housing benefit to assist them when transferring onto Universal Credit, helping to address the issue of rent arrears for those who most need it”.
For homeless families who are living in emergency temporary accommodation provided by their local authority from April 2018, DWP intends to alter the way claimants in temporary accommodation receive support for their housing costs although this is still to be detailed.
In April 2018, the state pension will rise by 3 per cent.
Unlike pensions, working-age benefits remain frozen, this means that if you are unemployed you will be able to purchase less and less with their payments because of the rising prices.