Universal Credit is designed to help those on lower incomes, but the Government says it should also be a way of helping get people back into work. The new benefits system was introduced in 2013 as a way to simplify welfare payments. Housing benefit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA), Child Tax Credit and Income Support have all now been replaced with a single Universal Credit payment. Payments are calculated on individual circumstances, meaning the amount you receive will not necessarily be the same as someone else.
How much can you earn a month on Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a single payment which is always made monthly and paid after the end of each month when you were entitled to Universal Credit.
Your first payment will take at least five weeks to come through. Once you have made your claim, there is a one-month assessment period and then payments are made seven days after that period.
Universal Credit will be paid into one bank account or another account (such as a post office card system account), nominated by each household.
For most people, Universal Credit payments will include money for rent and it is down to the claimant to ensure the money is accordingly spent.
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Your household may qualify for more than one of these elements:
- Child element
- Childcare costs element
- Limited capability for work element
- Limited capability for work-related activity element (LCWRA element)
- Carer element
- Housing costs element
Can I work while on Universal Credit?
The Government said that the Universal Credit system was designed to help people get back into work.
As a result, claimants can work as many hours as they like while claiming – but it may reduce the amount you will get.
The reason for this is because Universal Credit works according to a taper rate, which means that for every £1 you earn, your Universal Credit payment will go down by 63p.
Additionally, if you have a job and a child who depends on you, or you are unable to work due to an illness, you may qualify for a work allowance, which is the amount you can earn every month before the taper rate kicks in.