Universal credit changes: 6 million in UK to be affected by benefit cuts

A £20 uplift in weekly payments, which was part of the UK Government’s Covid support, is due to end in October.

Over the coming weeks, people claiming Universal Credit will receive notifications about a cut to their benefits this autumn.

Benefits experts at Citizens Advice Shropshire, which is campaigning against the cut, set out what this means for claimants. 

Jackie Jeffrey at Citizens Advice Shropshire discussed the impending anxiety the cuts will cause to struggling claimants.

She said: “Many people seeking our advice at the moment are unaware of an impending cut to their Universal Credit. Understandably, when they realise their benefits are set to drop by £20 a week it causes a lot of anxiety. 
“If you’re in this position, remember you are not alone and there is support available. As a first step, make sure you’re checking your online journal regularly so you know how much your benefits will reduce by and when.  

Benefits experts at Citizens Advice Shropshire, which is campaigning against the cut, set out what this means for claimants. 

When will the cut happen? 

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. 

How many people will be affected? 

If plans go ahead, the cut will hit nearly six million people on Universal Credit.

According to the latest available figures, approximately 40% of residents set to see their benefits drop are families with children and 42% are already in work.  

How much could I lose? 

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 

What support is available if I’m worried about my income? 

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.

A benefits check will help you verify you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to. You can use an online calculator as a starting point. 

You can also contact your local council to see if there is any extra help available in times of hardship.

Your local Citizens advice will also be able to offer support if you are struggling with referreals for food bank vouchers, free school meals and more. 

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