What to Do If You Have Problems Claiming Universal Credit
Millions of people receiving Universal Credit could see payments diminished by £1,040 a year beginning in April. The good news is that there is a temporary benefit boost worth £20 a week aims to help vulnerable households through the pandemic. If you have problems claiming your payments, it’s important to know what additional options are available.
1. Apply for an advance
You may be able to get some cash during the first five days of the month, but keep in mind that it’s just a temporary loan that will be deducted from future Universal Credit payments.
2. Alternative Payment Arrangements for rent
You can apply for an APA if you are having problems paying rent. With this option, money will be sent straight to your landlord. You will also have the option to change your payment frequency. Couples will even be able to opt to split payments.
3. Budgeting advances for unexpected home emergencies
In emergency cases, you may be able to receive government assistance. These emergency funds depend on your current condition. Are you single, married, with children or without children? Payments will help cover household costs up to £348 for those who are single, £464 for couples, and £812 for those with children. Keep in mind that the application limits the situations in which you can use the funds. And if you take these payments, you’ll be required to repay them out of your Universal Credit payments.
4. Cut the Council Tax
Another available option is to apply for a discount on Council Tax by applying for a reduction. You may also be eligible to receive Discretionary Housing Payments to help you pay your rent.
5. Consider foodbanks
If you find yourself in a really tight situation, going to the local food bank could be a lifesaving option. Through local food banks, you can receive good quality food rations at no cost.
Always consider your family’s needs and the amount of time it can take for you to receive the funds. The first Universal Credit payment can take up to 5 weeks to reach your bank account. And most of the advances presented here are loans that allow you to receive a portion of your money earlier. It is not additional money, free money. So be sure you work every day on your budget, keep tight control of your expenses and pay your debts right away to have more money available at the end of the month. If you find yourself struggling too often, consider getting advice from groups like Citizens Advice or National Debtline, which could help you find solutions for renegotiating debt with your creditors. These are hard times, but there are things you can do to get by and make ends meet.