Universal Credit: Jonathan Reynolds on Labour’s policy
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Official figures suggest around 1.9 million people are still on furlough but as the scheme is due to finish at the end of September, they could be eligible for up to £600 a month in other benefits. Here’s everything they need to know.
Although the majority of businesses have reopened following lockdown restrictions coming to an end, some employers are still using furlough.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to wind down support offered at the height of the COVID pandemic to UK residents at the close of September.
Unfortunately, it’s expected to lead to more redundancies as some employers won’t be able to afford to keep all staff members on.
Now is a good time to start making preparations and to see what people could be eligible for, according to financial experts.
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James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “Although furlough is not as widely used as it was at the height of the pandemic, ending it still sees a risk people will be made redundant or lose out on work that’s no longer supported by the Government.
“If you are set to be impacted by the loss of furlough payments, it’s essential to act now in applying for any support schemes, loans or grants that you may need to keep yourself level.
They often take weeks to be approved, so now’s the time to act before the furlough payments stop for good.
“One option for support is Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), which is a benefit for people not in full-time employment (working less than 16 hours per week), who are capable of working and are looking for a job.”
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Most people can claim JSA depending if they’ve paid enough national insurance contributions while they were employed.
It’s not means-tested, so will not be affected if you have savings.
The easiest way to apply is through the Government’s official website.
It’s a good idea to have your National Insurance number, bank or building society account details and previous six month employment details to hand.
Mr Andrews continued: “JSA is capped at £59.20 per week for under 25s and £74.70 for over 25s.
“This is not enough to replace a salary, so if you do not have savings or other income you should also apply for Universal Credit.
“Universal Credit is the main benefit paid to you if you are ineligible for disability benefits and are out of work or on an insufficient income.
“Depending on your circumstances, monthly Universal Credit payments vary between £344 and £596.58.”
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Those receiving Universal Credit already, who have suffered a drop in income or a change to their circumstances, are advised to get in touch with an advisor.
It could be that their money should be increased.
If people are still unsure which benefits they’re entitled to, there are lots of great resources online, including a comprehensive guide from money.co.uk
There could be a backlog, so it’s best to check what you’re entitled to as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays in payments.
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