WITH Britain’s departure from the European Union on the horizon, you may be wondering how it will affect benefits like Universal Credit.
As it stands, we’re still due to leave the European bloc on October 31 although that could all be set to change today if Prime Minister Boris Johnson fails to get MPs to support his deal.
If Boris loses his crunch votes tonight, his timetable to leave by Halloween will be completely thrown off course.
Instead the EU are likely to offer us an extension until January 31 2020, and Boris will call for a general election to break the deadlock.
Regardless of whether we leave the European Union with or without a deal, the way you receive your Universal Credit shouldn’t change.
You will still be able to apply for the benefit and receive the same amount every month that you do now.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work
UNIVERSAL Credit replaces six benefits with a single monthly payment.
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – weve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us theyve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
Its time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the government to:
- Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Dont get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email [email protected] to share your story.
Sara Willcocks, from debt charity Turn2us, said: “As far as we’re aware, domestic policies such as Universal Credit will not change regardless of whether we stay or leave the European Union.”
Will Universal Credit payments go up?
Universal Credit payments are due to rise by 1.7 per cent in April if a four-year freeze comes to an end when planned – although the new DWP minister Thrse Coffey refused to confirm this earlier this month.
The increase would mean someone who receives 500 in benefits will see payments increase to 508.50.
But families will still be 580 a year worse off, as payments have lagged behind inflation over the past five years, according to the Resolution Foundation.
Can I still claim Universal Credit if I’m an EU citizen?
EU, EEA Swiss and Irish citizens will be able to continue to live in the UK and claim benefits on the same terms after Brexit as they are now.
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens moving to the UK after Brexit will be able to claim benefits until December 31 2020 under the same terms as those who moved here before the deadline.
What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit
IF you’re experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don’t cover costs, here are your options:
Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it’s a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit pay out.
Alternative Payment Arrangements– If you’re falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you’re part of a couple.
Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the government to help with emergency household costs of up to 348 if you’re single, 464 if you’re part of a couple or 812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You’ll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You’ll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren’t enough to cover your rent.
Foodbanks – If you’re really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussel Trust website.
But you’ll need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain to remain living in the UK after December 31 2020.
If your application is successful, you will get a temporary immigration status that will allow you to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date it is granted.
You’ll be able to claim Universal Credit as normal during this time.
If you’re a UK citizen living in the EU after Brexit then you will continue claiming your benefits as normal.
The government has a page dedicated to what happens to your benefits in the case of a no-deal Brexit which is regularly updated here.