In our latest advice blog, Welfare Benefits Advisor Jen Kelly outlines how upcoming changes in benefits could affect RAF veterans and personnel.
Changes to benefit rates
Every year in April, benefit rates are reviewed, and this sometimes means that certain benefit rates increase slightly. While this is not the case for all benefits, it is the case this year for disability benefits, carer's benefits and War Disablement Pensions.
Covid-19 benefit increases to be extended/replaced
In April 2020, as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the standard allowance in Universal Credit (UC) and the basic element in Working Tax Credits were both increased by £20 per week. These increases were both originally due to end in April 2021.
However, the government has announced that the £20 increase to the UC standard allowance will be extended for six months from April 2021.
The government has also announced that although the increase to Working Tax Credits will end in April 2021 as planned, it will be replaced by a one-off payment of £500. Those eligible for this payment should be contacted by text message or letter in April 2021, and this payment should be made by 23 April 2021.
Changes to Universal Credit (UC) advance payment recovery
If you claim UC, you have the option of having an advance payment, which you then need to pay back via deductions from your ongoing UC payments.
The government has announced that from April 2021 these advance payments can be paid back over a 24-month period, instead of the current 12-month period. Also, from April 2021, the maximum rate at which these advance payments can be deducted from UC is reducing from 30% to 25% of the UC standard allowance. This should mean that the amount of UC you should be left with, after deductions for an advance payment, should increase.
If you have any questions about any of the above, or about benefits in general, please feel free to contact the Fund on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 169 2942 and ask to speak with a Welfare Benefits Advisor.