Simple check can boost DWP Universal Credit payments by £1,904 a year

Due to the severe cost of living problem, millions of British people are having financial difficulties.

Thankfully, there are numerous support programmes available to assist individuals in need.

Did you know that you can increase the amount that you pay on Universal Credit?

Whether you’re filing a claim alone or with someone else will determine how much benefits you receive.

If you live alone, your usual monthly allowance is £368.74.

Partners making a joint Universal Credit claim can get £578.82 between them, but when exactly should a claim be made together?

Lynne Thomson, and ex-DWP worker and tax adviser, says there is potentially money going unclaimed as people aren’t aware of when they need to make a joint claim as a couple.

It’s important to understand the difference as it could boost payments by up to £1,903.92 a year. However, if you make a claim as two single people when it should be together, you could owe money.

So what exactly is a couple in these terms? According to Lynne, if two people are married or are together as if they were, they must make a joint claim.

However, if they are both single, they should make two single person claims. A joint claim for Universal Credit is generally much less than two single person claims.

Lynne says the Department for Work and Pensions will not say what is a couple and use several things to decide whether two people are and must make a joint claim.

Whether those people are living together or not makes very little difference about if they are a couple. So, even if two people are living together, it does not mean they are a couple.

Equally, even when one person moves away it does not always mean they are not a couple. No one thing defines a couple, and it is never possible to say with certainty whether two people are single or whether they are “a couple”.

The DWP looks at things like:

  • How did you come to be living together? Were you previously in a relationship?
  • What are your domestic arrangements? Do you cook and eat together. Do you do each other’s laundry?
  • Is there sharing of finances?
  • Do you socialise together?
  • Is there evidence of family life? Do you take the children on days out together?

Due to the numerous variables, it is usually worthwhile to verify these facts before making a claim.

Your situation, including whether you live with someone, your age, and your income if you work, will determine how much you receive.

Policy in Practice estimates that every year, unclaimed Universal Credit is worth £7.5 billion, and a quick check with a benefits calculator might be beneficial.

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