Martin Lewis told MPs it is “absolutely” worth checking if a household is “missing out” on Universal Credit. The financial journalist said families should check the benefits calculator on the Government website to find out if they are entitled to more support.
He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) sub-committee: “My rule of thumb is if you have family income of under £40,000 then you should absolutely check on a benefits calculator whether you are entitled to Universal Credit.”
The founder of Money Saving Expert has previously encouraged viewers of his ITV money show audience to find out if they are missing out on benefits.
He said: “I am not, repeat, saying you will get it. I am saying it’s definitely worth 10 minutes of your time to go onto an online benefits calculator- there are a good few of them out there – and it should take about 10 minutes to put all of your details in to see if you are due.
“Remember, benefits aren’t just for those out of work. 40 percent of those on Universal Credit are in work.”
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UK law states that benefits are supposed to increase each year in line with the rate of inflation.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed in the Autumn Statement that Universal Credit payment will increase by 10.1 percent next April, in line with the September figure for inflation.
The standard payment for single claimants under 25 will increase from £265.31 to £292.11 while payments for single people over 25 will go up from £334.91 to £368.74.
Payments for joint claimants under 25 will go up from £416.45 to £458.51, while payments for claimants over 25 will go up from £525.72 to £578.82.
The childcare costs amount is not being uprated as this amount is never uprated, as payments align with the childcare element of Working Tax Credit.
Under other changes announced in the Budget, some 600,000 claimants will get more support to get back into work, by meeting with a work coach.
Work coaches are there to help with job searches, and they can give people individual support depending on their needs.
The support they offer can include:
- Helping them to identify their transferable skills and how these may help them in jobs or industries they may not have thought of before
- Using their local expertise to help with the job search and to find suitable opportunities for them
- Helping people create, improve and adapt their CV
- Supporting them with job applications and providing advice to increase their chance of success
- Helping people prepare and practise for interviews.
Several other DWP benefits are increasing by 10.1 percent next April, including:
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer premium (in means-tested legacy benefits)
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Industrial Death Benefit
- Income Support