DWP benefit could boost income by £393 – check eligibility | Personal Finance | Finance

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Billions of pounds worth of the Universal Credit benefit could currently be going unclaimed with thousands of individuals missing out on payments of almost £400 a month, new research suggests.

Policy in Practice has published its latest “Missing Out” report for April, which analyses the total amount of unclaimed income-related benefits and social tariffs. It estimates a staggering £22.7billion worth of support is being missed per year, up from £19billion last year

Of this figure, a startling £8.3billion is being lost to people who could be eligible for – a benefit which can pay up to £393 per month – but aren’t claiming.

A lack of awareness about certain benefits, negative perceptions about claiming benefits, as well as the complexity of the claiming process were identified as some of the main barriers preventing people from applying. But while living costs remain high, with inflation still rising at 3.2 percent, people are urged to claim support if they’re eligible for it.

Pressingly, people who claim certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, could also get access to a wider range of But are you eligible? Express Money explores.

Who is eligible for Universal Credit?

People may be able to claim Universal Credit if they’re on a low income or need help with living costs. They could be:

  • Out of work
  • Working (including self-employed or part-time)
  • Unable to work, for example, because of a health condition.

To claim, people must:

  • Live in the UK
  • Be aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • Be under state pension age
  • Have £16,000 or less in money, savings and investments.

Eligibility terms can vary depending on whether a claimant lives with a partner, as well as other circumstances – all of these are listed here.

How much is Universal Credit?

Around 5.5 million families received an income boost in April as Universal Credit payment rates increased by 6.7 percent.

How much Universal Credit a person receives depends on their circumstances, such as age, whether they live in a couple, and whether they have children.

Each eligible household receives a ‘standard allowance,’ and additional payments may be provided on top of this to assist with other associated costs.

The standard allowances for this tax year are:

  • Single under 25: £311.68 (up from £292.11 per month)
  • Single 25 or over: £393.45 (up from £368.74 per month)
  • Joint claimants both under 25: £489.23 (up from £458.51 per month)
  • Joint claimants, one or both 25 or over: £617.60 (up from £578.82 per month).

Additional payments, which are provided for claimants with children, disabilities, childcare costs, and so on, can be worth hundreds of pounds extra. The full list of additional payments can be found here.

How to claim Universal Credit

People can claim Universal Credit online. However, people are urged to check if they’re better off claiming this benefit by using an online calculator first such as the Turn2us and Policy Practice benefit calculators.

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