Good morning

Most state benefit rates have changed from this month.

Some, like Universal Credit, have been increased by 0.5% (in line with inflation). Whereas, Pensioners enjoy a rise of 2.5% to their state Pension. To access the comprehensive list of benefit type changes, and the variable amounts that apply, click here.

The much talked about £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit, Standard Allowances, continues until the end of September this year, after which the plan is to withdraw this payment. Whether that happens will very much be influenced by what happens to the infection rate, hospitalisations etc. as lockdown measures are lifted.

Advance Payments offered to new claimants or those transitioning from legacy benefits will now be given 2 years to repay the advance instead of the one year currently.

DWP has also dropped the “Maximum” debt recovery deduction to 25% of the claimants’ Standard Allowance. You will recall, this until the change was 30% and not so long ago was 40%.

DWP reckons 350,000 families will immediately benefit from this change by being able to retain more of their personal allowance which should help with budgeting.

As far as Third-Party Deductions are concerned, Rent Arrears is still number 1, in terms of the hierarchy or priority order, so don’t let DWP convince you its or HMRC’s “Overpayments” are higher in the pecking order. In fact, they are way down the list.

Two things that haven’t changed are:

*Benefits Cap.

There remains no increase to the rates introduced in 2016. So for those tenants already affected by the Benefits Cap any increase to Standard Allowances or any of the other elements, will be swallowed up, leaving them worse off, if you factor inflation; and

*Local Housing Allowance rates

Private Landlords will recall, these were increased from April 2020 as part of the Government’s COVID package of measures. These are likely to remain unchanged until, at least, 2023/24.

If you require any further information of this or any other related topic, email or phone 07733 080 389.

Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd.