Universal Credit claimants could be entitled to payment top-ups worth up to £1,600


Despite a rise in Universal Credit payments on April 11 by 3.1 per cent, which is in line with the standard uprating of all Government benefits, claimants are worse off. This is because the increase was well below current levels of inflation leaving recipients with less money in real teams.

Unsurprisingly, that has left many people looking for possible sources of extra money. The DWP has already advised on a number of financial support options people can check. But it’s also important to be sure you are on the correct level of Universal Credit to start with.

Universal Credit comes in the form of a standard allowance – the sum to which the £20-a-week uplift was applied – with several possible top-ups that can be added, depending on your circumstances. Here we have taken a look at all those additional amounts so you can check if you should qualify and then contact the DWP if they have not already been included in your monthly entitlement.

READ MORE: Martin Lewis urges people on Universal Credit to check if they qualify for £1,200 bonus

Benefit payments are claimed by millions of people

But first, here’s a reminder of the new rates of standard allowances:

  • Standard allowance per month for single person under 25: £265.31 (an increase from £257.33)
  • Standard allowance per month for single person aged 25 or over: 334.91 (an increase from £324.84)
  • Standard allowance per month for joint claimants both under 25: £416.45 (an increase from £403.93)
  • Standard allowance for joint claimants with one or both aged 25 or over: £525.72 (an increase from £509.81)

All the Universal Credit top-ups

1. Up to £290 per month for a child. Universal Credit claimants who have kids can get extra money. This amount is £290 a month for the first child if they were born before April 6, 2017, or £244.58 if they were born after that date. For the second child and any other eligible children, it’s £244.58 per month per child.

2. Up to £414.88 per month for a disabled child. If you have a child with disabilities, then the level of additional financial support is higher. For a child described as disabled, you get an extra £132.89 and if they are described as severely disabled you’ll get an extra £414.88.

3. Up to £354.28 per month if you cannot work for health reasons. Universal Credit is a benefit for those who are unable to work in the short or long term as well as those who are out of work or are working but on a low wage. If you are deemed by the DWP to have limited capability for work or work-related activity (LCWRA), it means you’re not expected to be able to get a job or return to work, because of chronic health conditions. In this case, you should get an extra £354.28 every month. If you began claiming Universal Credit before April 3, 2017, a lower amount of £132.89 should be added to your allowance.

4. Up to £168.81 per month for caring for a disabled person. If you provide care for at least 35 hours a week for a severely disabled person who receives a disability-related benefit, then you should get a top-up of £168.81 from the DWP.

5. Up to £405 a month in transitional protection if you’re disabled. Anyone moving on to Universal Credit from Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance who had a Severe Disability Premium (SDP) added to their previous benefit payment should get a ‘transitional protection’ sum on their Universal Credit to compensate for the loss of that premium. If you are single you’ll get £120 in transitional protection if the LCWRA top-up is also included in your Universal Credit entitlement, or £285 if it’s not included.

If you’re in a couple you’ll get £405 if you were getting the higher SDP rate, or £120 if you were getting the lower SDP rate and the LCWRA element is included in the award for either member of the couple. Those who were getting the lower SDP rate but won’t get the LCWRA top-up in their Universal Credit should receive £285.

Transitional protection reduces over time by the amount of any increase in your Universal Credit. This does not include any increase to pay for childcare costs. It will end if any of the following apply:

  • you’re a single claimant and you start living with your partner

  • you stop living with your partner

  • your Universal Credit increases by more than the transitional protection amount

  • your earnings fall below the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) for more than 3 assessment periods (the AET is £343 per month for an individual and £549 per month for a couple)

  • your Universal Credit claim ends

If your Universal Credit stops for less than three months because your earnings are too high, you may get transitional protection again when your claim restarts. One option to help navigate the DWP system and check for extra entitlements is to use a benefits calculator to see what Universal Credit top-ups you may be missing out on.

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