Martin Lewis gives job hunter universal credit advice
Universal Credit, PIP and some state pensioners may have been eligible for a Christmas bonus this year which should have been paid automatically. This bonus is a one-off tax free £10 payment made before Christmas day to people who get certain benefits during a qualifying week.
This qualifying week should have taken place in the first full week of December and so long as a claimant was eligible, they should have been paid automatically.
To get a Christmas bonus, a person must have been present or “ordinarily resident” in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, any European Economic Area country or Switzerland during the qualifying week.
They must also be receiving at least one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance
- Carer’s Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (once the main phase of the benefit is entered after the first 13 weeks of claim)
- Disability Living Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit at the long-term rate
- Industrial Death Benefit (for widows or widowers)
- Mobility Supplement
- Pension Credit – the guarantee element
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- State Pension (including Graduated Retirement Benefit)
- Severe Disablement Allowance (transitionally protected)
- Unemployability Supplement or Allowance (paid under Industrial Injuries or War Pensions schemes)
- War Disablement Pension at State Pension age
- War Widow’s Pension
- Widowed Mother’s Allowance
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- Widow’s Pension
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The payment should have arrived by now but for those who have nor received it but feel they should have been eligible, they may be able to take action.
Claimants in this predicament can contact either a Jobcentre Plus office or pension centre for assistance.
While these offices will be closed from tomorrow, their phone lines can still be called today for missing or urgent payments.
To keep an eye out for the bonus, claimants should look for “DWP XB” on their bank statement which is what the payment will arrive under.
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Regular Universal Credit payments themselves may arrive early today for claimants whose scheduled payment date fell on December 25.
Universal Credit is paid once a month into a designated bank, building society or credit union account.
Initial payments can take around five weeks to arrive and claimants should get a monthly statement telling them when they’ll receive income.
After the first payment, claimants will be paid on the same date of every month.
While a person is claiming Universal Credit, they need to report any changes in their circumstances to ensure they receive the correct amount each month.
These changes can include:
- finding or finishing a job
- having a child
- moving in with a partner
- starting to care for a child or disabled person
- changing a mobile number or email address
- moving to a new address
- changing bank details
- rent going up or down
- changes to health conditions
- becoming too ill to work or meet a work coach
- changes to earnings (only for the self-employed)
If these kinds of changes are not reported, the Universal Credit payments could be reduced or halted all together.
Additionally, a claimant could be taken to court or be forced to pay a penalty if they give wrong or misleading information.
Changes can be reported online through a Universal Credit account.
General help with Universal Credit can also be requested online or through a designated helpline.
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