Are you claiming benefits or think you could be entitled?
There are continuous changes made to benefits every year to review awards and keep the system fair. With the ongoing pandemic, causing vulnerable people to stay at home, redundancies BD furlough situations, the government has also made changes to help people during what is a very challenging situation.
At some point in life, everyone needs a little help.
Do you or someone you know need some extra support and wondering if you meet the criteria?
Our guide could be useful for you, too.
Here is a guide to some of the changes made to benefits in 2020 and how to go about applying for them.
Universal Credit Rate Increase
Due to the pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has increased the Universal Credit amount by £80 a month. This is a temporary measure put in place to help families and households during the lockdown, or those who have found themselves out of work. The rate has risen to £409.89 a month. If you're on a low income, unable to work or finding life tough at the moment, Universal Credit can be a little cushion to help out. Benefit Answers can provide free, in-depth information about how to apply for Universal Credit to get help with your rent, bills and other day-to-day living costs.
Extra Help Towards Council Tax
Do you get a council tax reduction or discount? If you’re in receipt of this and are of working age, you’ll be entitled to an extra £150 towards the cost of your council tax for 2020-2021.
This has been announced as part of the changes to help people through the Covid-19 pandemic.
You don't need to do anything. What will happen is that you’ll receive the extra amount by the end of June 2020, which will go straight to your council tax account. This will reduce your monthly payments for the rest of the year.
Personal Independent Payment
The PIP, for people living with a disability or health condition that impacts their life, went up from April 2020.
The daily living component of PIP, which is the minimum that can be awarded, has gone up from £58.70 to £59.70. The enhanced amount has gone up by £1.40, from £87.65 to £89.15. For the mobility award of PIP, the standard amount has gone up a modest amount, from £23.20 to £23.60.
Not sure about PIP and if it applies to you? Visit here to find out more about whether you could be entitled to it.
Working Tax Credits
Do you get tax credits? The amount you can earn that gets ignored when assessing your credits has gone up by £20 a month.
It was previously £17.10 and is now £37.10, which means that anything you earn above this figure will be considered when working out your entitlement to tax credits. This means that extra bit more in your pocket each month.
Pension rates will increase by 2.5 percent, which is a higher increase than it’s been for the last few years. Overall, this means an increase of £343 over the whole year or, to put it another way, going up from 8,767.20 to £9,110.40 annually.
Want to apply?
Or do you know someone with a health condition or who is unable to work because of ill-health?
They could be entitled to the Personal Independent Payment. If they’re over 65, they could be entitled to Attendance Allowance.
Many people are unaware that they could be entitled to PIP, of the mindset that somebody has to be very seriously ill or not working to receive it, but this is not always the case. Many people who didn't think they would be entitled have gone on to apply with the help of Benefit Answers and have ended up receiving an award.
It's that little bit of help when life gets tough.
The PIP or Attendance Allowance forms can be hard to understand and the questions can be unclear. That’s why it can help to have somebody there to talk you through the questions, explain what things mean and fill in the required information.
Benefit Answers can help put all your paperwork for you and get you the claim you’re entitled to. There is a very high success rate of applications.
What’s more, it will also be backdated to the first date you claim.
For more information about getting help to apply for PIP for yourself or a loved one, click here.