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Half a million Brits missing out on Universal Credit worth hundreds of pounds a year – how to check


HALF a million working Brits are missing out on Universal Credit worth hundreds of pounds a year.

A change to rules means the more people can now earn money from work and get the benefit in a boost for those on low incomes.

More people are now eligible to claim Universal Credit - but may not know

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More people are now eligible to claim Universal Credit – but may not knowCredit: Alamy

Almost 2million people already claiming the benefit already keep more of what they earn under the new rules.

But many more not claiming could now be eligible too after a change to the taper rate.

Universal Credit payments are gradually reduced as you earn more, over a certain amount.

The rate at which it’s tapered was slashed from 55p for every £1 from November last year. Previously it was 63p.

The work allowance – an amount some people can earn before this taper applies – has also increased by £500 a year.

Those on low incomes who were previously not eligible for Universal Credit because they earned too much could now be entitled to the help.

Lowering the taper rate means it’s easier to qualify for the benefit with higher earnings.

Thousands of Brits in work have been urged to check their eligibility for Universal Credit – even if they didn’t qualify before.

Dr Phil Agulnik, boss of charity EntitledTo, previously said when the change was announced: “In practical terms these changes mean it’s more important than ever for people to check if they can claim Universal Credit.

Martin Lewis has also urged people to check – and you could find out in as little a 10 minutes.

How to check if you can get Universal Credit

EntitledTo’s benefits calculator has the new rates so anyone checking can get an idea of their entitlement after the rule change.

Some 600,000 extra families will be entitled to receive support, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies – a quarter of all working-age families. 

And even some workers earning more than £50,000 could now be eligible, depending on their circumstances.

And a single parent with two children who pays monthly rent of £750 can now earn just under £52,000 before losing their ability to claim the benefit. Previously the figure was £44,500.

A couple with just one earner in the same circumstances can make almost £59,000 in income before being cut off, a rise from £49,300 previously, the think tank said.

In order to qualify for Universal Credit, you must be on a low income or out of work, and need to be over 18.

You, or your partner, should be under State Pension age and must live in the UK.

You won’t qualify if you and your partner have more than £16,000 in savings between you.

To find out whether you’re eligible for extra help following the changes to the taper rate and work allowance, you can use a benefits calculator.

You’ll need to provide details of your savings, income, existing benefits and pensions, outgoings and your council tax bill.

Benefit calculators include:

If you’re eligible and how much you can get depends on your circumstances.

If you’re not eligible for Universal Credit you could still claim other benefits, and a calculator can tell you this too.

A whopping £15billion goes unclaimed every year, like council tax support and income support, so it’s always wroth checking.

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