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What You Need to Know About Rishi Sunak's £1,000 One-off Universal Credit Payment

Posted by MoneyController on 05.02.2021

Finance minister Rishi Sunak is proposing a one-off grant that would replace the £20 a week - or £1,040 a year - boosts introduced in March to support millions of families facing poverty during the pandemic. In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this new stimulus plan. 

Who qualifies?

This benefit will substitute the boosts introduced last April, so it would be available to all benefit claimants - particularly those facing some financial crisis, such as unemployment or the inability to cover essential expenses.

Is it better than the £20 a week plan?

It’s different. Universal Credit was raised by £1,040 for the 2020/21 financial year to help ease the impact of coronavirus. However, this was a "temporary" rise, which is due to end on April 12, so the payments will fall back down to pre-pandemic levels and households will lose £84 as a result. The £20-a-week permanent rise would add around £6billion a year to public spending, which is unsustainable considering the UK’s skyrocketing public debt situation. Sunak is thus considering a one-off payment of between £500 and £1,000. This payment would be up-front so you would have to plan and organize your finances well. If you need help, consider talking to a financial advisor.

 An alternative to the current £20 a week increase?

Yes, since the £1,000 lump sum would compensate for the ending of the temporary £20-a-week increase in benefits. Also, because more people receiving Universal Credit have signed on for it since the onset of the pandemic, they will most likely qualify for it. 

Is it definitely going to happen? What’s the official position here?

No official decision has been made yet. Nonetheless, many reports have been going around discussing it and Downing Street has not denied them at all. In any case, the government is in need of a plan to substitute the current one. MoreoverGovernment sources have stated that they are very hopeful the one-off payment will help rebuild the economy. The Treasury believes this will make people spend more in order to stimulate the economy. Nevertheless, if this goes to those who are financially struggling and unemployed, it's very unlikely that the money will be spent on anything beyond essential items. Leaving people without an alternative would leave the most vulnerable in a difficult situation and the government’s credibility would take a massive hit, so the plan is very likely to happen. 

What about financial support for parents?

If you're a parent struggling to cover your bills, you could be entitled to extra financial support depending on your situation:

  1. You can get free NHS dental treatment if you're pregnant when you start your treatment. You're also entitled to free NHS dental treatment for 12 months after your baby arrives if you turn in the required certificates.
  2. Eligible employees can also take up to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. The first 26 weeks is known as ‘Ordinary Maternity Leave’ and the last 26 weeks as 'Additional Maternity Leave'. 
  3. If your child is below the age of 18 and you don't live with another adult, you can apply for 25% off your council tax.
  4. All parents can claim Child Benefit. This is a state subsidy of £21.05 a week for your first child and £13.95 a week for subsequent children.
  5. If you're on sick leave because of coronavirus but don't qualify for sick pay, you can get a one off £500 COVID support payment from the government.
  6. The Healthy Start scheme supports parents with food vouchers. You qualify if you’re 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four and get income support or another benefit. 
  7. If you're on a low income, you may be able to claim income support, jobseeker’s allowance (JSA), or housing benefit to help our with rent. 
  8. If you've a three- or four-year-old child, you can register for the government's 30 hours free childcare scheme on top.
  9. I you need help with childcare costs, The Care to Learn scheme can help. It's £160 per child per week if you live outside London, or £175 per child per week if you live in London. All payments will go directly to your childcare provider.



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