DWP outlines budgeting support for universal credit claimants
Published by Brian Church for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government
UK inflation soars to 4.4% in July
The Department for Work and Pensions issued a general reminder that it has joined forces with the Money Advice Service and local authorities to provide free impartial budgeting support to all those who need it.
"Universal credit will replace the complex myriad of means-tested benefits and make three million households better off," the DWP said. "It will be simpler for people to navigate and harder for people to defraud, but most importantly it will make work pay."
While acknowledging that most people can manage their money effectively, the DWP said putting a monthly household budget together may be a new experience for some, and others may not have had the responsibility for paying their own rent before.
"Ensuring a smooth transition into work is a key part of universal credit and forms part of our long-term plan. By managing a monthly budget while out of work, claimants will be much more able to manage their money effectively when they move into employment," the DWP said.
To that end, free money advice is offered to all who need it and people are signposted to organisations providing further help and guidance, including online tools to help them plan how to budget effectively.
Universal credit is replacing six existing benefits with one payment. Benefits being replaced are: Income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, income support, working tax credit, child tax credit and housing benefit.
Case Study: A Rose in Harrogate
The DWP provided the case study of Alex Rose in Harrogate who put in a claim for universal credit after he was made redundant earlier in the year. This is Alex’s experience in his own words:
"I was told about the budgeting service at the jobcentre so I went down and heard about the options. It was all good advice and it made me far more aware of how I was actually wasting money. I would definitely recommend it.
"The lady who dealt with me was brilliant. She basically asked me what my bills and other outgoings were, such as gas, electricity, food and cigarettes, and she showed me where I could save money and where I could afford to pay more on my bills. She made me more aware of where I was wasting money. I’ve now learned to turn the lights off more regularly, and I don’t have as many baths now, I have showers, which saves on water bills.
"I’m now working 16 hours a week, which is all that was going at the time. I love working and would rather have some work than no work at all. When I was at the jobcentre they explained to me that under UC I get to keep more of my money. I understand it: I get my rent money and my money. I know how much I have to pay my landlord and I have to pay £15 a month in council tax. I take that out and whatever is left is for me."