Don’t wait until October !
As it stands, the government is set to slash benefits by £20 a week - equivalent to £1,040 a year - from 6 October.
The exact date people will see the cut kick in will depend on the day they get their Universal Credit payment. For many, this means September will be the last month they see their benefits paid at existing levels. While every Universal Credit claim will drop by around £85 a month, the proportion of income claimants will lose will vary depending on their circumstances.
Single people under 25 are set to be hit by the biggest drop. Monthly standard allowances will drop:
● By a quarter for single claimants under 25, from £344 to £257.33
● By a fifth for single claimants over 25, from £411.51 to £324.84
● By 17% for joint claimants under 25, from £490.60 to £403.93
● By 14% for joint claimants over 25, from £596.58 to £509.91
Locally, Citizens Advice Ashfield, Broxtowe and Sherwood & Newark are preparing to support people facing a reduction in their income from the loss of the extra £20 a week in Universal Credit and the end of the furlough scheme. Across Ashfield, Broxtowe and Newark & Sherwood local Authorities 27,362 people were claiming Universal Credit in July 2021. This means the benefit cut is set to hit 1 in 8 people across our local areas. Furthermore, 40% of these Universal Claimants are in work and potentially could be negatively impacted by the ending of the furlough scheme.
We know that people across our communities are worried about the reduction in their Universal Credit payment. Of the 57 respondents to our survey, over 75% said that they are already struggling to pay priority bills or will struggle when their income is reduced by £20 per week.
Jackie Insley, Chief Officer at Citizens Advice Sherwood & Newark said ’Please don’t wait until October. ‘If you are struggling or think you are going to struggle, it’s always important to check what other help might be available. Contact our advice line to speak to one of our advice workers or have a look on our website.’ You’re not alone and there is support available.
Everyone’s situation is different which is why speaking to a trained adviser may be helpful. Depending on your circumstances, support could include:
● A benefits check. This will help you verify you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. You can use an online calculator as a starting point or get in touch with us.
● Help with debt. Some bills can cause you more problems than others if you don’t pay them. Rent or mortgage arrears, energy bills and council tax are your priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. Citizens Advice Sherwood & Newark can provide guidance if you’re struggling with bills.
● Free school meals. If you have children and you get certain benefits, you might be able to get free school meals for your children. Parents on UC may be entitled to additional support with ‘back to school costs.’
● Food bank vouchers. If you can’t afford the food you can ask for a referral from Citizens Advice Sherwood & Newark or an organisation that’s already supporting you - for example, a charity, school or children’s centre - for a food bank voucher. For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Sherwood and Newark on:
● General advice via our Adviceline on 0800 144 88 48 or Textphone: 18001 0800 144 8 444 Monday to Friday 10am - 5pm. Alternatively, you can ring our local office on 01623 861769 where you may be offered a call back
● Chat online to an advisor by visiting our website www.citizensadvice.org.uk/contact-us.
● To contact us via email use firstname.lastname@example.org
● For debt advice or advice on benefits please call 01623 861769