Universal Credit UK: Little-known payment could help Britons with extra costs

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Universal Credit is a living support payment which helps those who are on a low income, or who are out of work. The payment is issued once a month to provide the financial support many people will need, particularly amid the ongoing pandemic. To be eligible, one must be over the age of 18 in most cases, but under state pension age.

They must also be resident in the UK and have less than £16,000 in savings.

However, while Universal Credit is intended to offer extensive support, many Britons could be entitled to receive an additional sum under benefit rules.

The sum of money is known as the Flexible Support Fund (FSF), and is designed to help those who are struggling to find work due to financial hardship.

When searching for work, there are often a number of costs involved, and these can quickly mount up without a person realising.

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Such expenses can include travel, childcare, uniforms and work tools, but could put a strain on already stretched finances for many households.

As a result, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has established the Flexible Support Fund for this specific purpose, although many people are unaware they could claim.

The fund was introduced in 2011, with the government distributing money to Jobcentres to help with costs.

The Jobcentres administer the payment on a discretionary basis, which means Britons are not automatically entitled to it.

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However, if a Jobcentre does decide the FSF could be appropriate, then there could be significant assistance available.

There is no set amount of money a person can be given under the scope of the FSF.

Instead, sums of money will be given to individuals dependent on their situation and circumstances, and what they require.

But the money will have to specifically be used for the purpose of helping a person to find work.

The benefit, though, of the FSF is that it is a grant and not a loan, meaning it will not have to be paid back.

It can also be received in addition to any other benefits a person might be claiming.

This means Britons can receive the support they need without feeling worried about finances later down the line.

The charity Turn2Us has explained people may also be entitled to receive help with childcare from the FSF.

Its website reads: “If you are claiming Universal Credit, you may also be able to get help with the first month of childcare costs from the FSF.

“You should ask your work coach for help with your upfront childcare costs through the Flexible Support Fund.

“If they aren’t willing to give help through this fund, you may have to ask for an advance.”

However, Universal Credit is just one of the benefits which may entitle Britons to receive an FSF payment, with others including:

  • Pension Credit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance

If people wish to apply to receive the FSF payment, they should approach their local Jobcentre for assistance on the matter.

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