The temporary £ 20 per week increase for Universal Credit claimants will be reviewed amid concerns it could be scrapped, officials have confirmed.
Universal Credit plaintiffs have been able to receive the payment in recent months in a government move to help people cope during the coronavirus crisis.
But there was clear uncertainty as to whether the support would continue as it will end in March.
Now the DWP has confirmed it will review it, the Express reports.
That offers no guarantee of what will happen next – but at least indicates that officials can extend it or introduce a replacement measure, as it had previously been announced that it would simply end in March.
Thérèse Coffey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has now issued a statement on social security benefits and pension increases for 2021/22.
In the statement, she addressed the £ 20 increase for Universal Credit – and also confirmed how state pensions and other benefits would be increased.
She said: “ The legal annual review is separate from the temporary increase of £ 20 per week to Universal Credit and Work Tax Credit, announced as a temporary measure by the Chancellor in March 2020 and enacted for a year under other legislation to support those most financially disturbed as a result of the public health emergency.
“As the government has done during this crisis, it will continue to assess how best to support low-income families. Therefore, we will look at the economic and health context in the new year.”
Charities, organizations and campaigners have urged the government to extend the revival or make it permanent.
However, the Chancellor’s assessment of the spending left people in the dark as to what was going on.
Officials have now also revealed that state pensions will be increased by 2.5 percent.
The full rate of the new state pension is now £ 179.60 per week.
The Standard Minimum Guarantee for Pension Credit will also increase by the same amount as the AOW basic pension – 1.9 percent.
Meanwhile, all other benefits will be increased in line with the CPI inflation measure – which was 0.5 percent in the relevant reference period.
This includes working-age benefits, benefits to meet additional needs due to disability, benefits for carers and pensioners’ contributions in income-related benefits, state benefits and supplementary state pension.
The new rates will take effect from April 2022.
Universal Credit payments themselves are tailored to the plaintiff’s specific circumstances
While all applicants receive at least a standard supplement, additional payments are granted for certain elements, such as childcare and rent costs.
The standard fees are based on the applicant’s age and relationship status as follows:
- Single and under 25 – £ 342.72 per month
- Single and 25 or older – £ 409.89 per month
- In a pair and both are under 25 – £ 488.59 (for both)
- In a pair and both are 25 or over – £ 594.04 (for both)
The payments are usually deposited into an account of a bank, mortgage bank or credit union once a month.
After initial claims, you can wait five weeks for the first payment.
However, if plaintiffs struggle with their bills during this waiting period, they may be able to request an advance to receive earlier income.
Payment dates can also be changed due to holidays.
With Christmas approaching next month, many claimants will be paid early in the coming weeks.