Universal Credit is a living support payment designed to help Britons cover day-to-day expenses. It is currently overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who is responsible for ensuring claimants on the system receive the correct amount for their circumstances. Universal Credit claimants can expect to receive a payment every month from the DWP.
APAs can get rent paid directly to a landlord, allow claimants to be paid more frequently than once a month, or allow claimants to receive split payments if they are part of a couple.
Another way Britons can receive help is through advance and hardship payments.
An advance payment allows claimants to access up to 100 percent of their first payment during the traditional five week wait period.
These are available to individuals who do not have enough to live on while they wait for their first payment, and, when confirmed, can be received in three working days.
Hardship payments, however, are for claimants who cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because they received a sanction.
A sanction is received if a claimant does not meet the responsibilities they agreed to within their Universal Credit commitment.
In addition, Budgeting Advances can be made available to claimants to help cover emergency or funeral costs.
To be eligible, one must earn less than £2,600 in the past six months, and have been on Universal Credit for six months or more.
The smallest amount a person can borrow is £100, however, this type of advance can climb as high as £812 for those with children.
It is important to note, however, these payments must be paid back to the DWP – meaning subsequent Universal Credit payments will be lower until the full amount is returned.
Finally, there is help at hand for regular costs such as energy bills, childcare and housing costs.
BT Basic allows individuals to receive cheap line rental if they have no income, and the WaterSure programme helps Britons to cap their bills if they have a water meter.
People who have a child, or who are pregnant, may be able to receive free school meals or a maternity payment to help them meet their needs.
Universal Credit claimants can log on to the government’s online portal or speak to their work coach to find out which additional payments could suit their circumstances.