Free Universal Credit and benefits calculators work out how much you should get

HOUSEHOLDS who claim Universal Credit and other benefits can use free online calculators to work out how much money they should get.

Millions of Brits will get an extra £1,000 a year benefits boost following a cut to the Universal Credit taper rate so you might want to check your new payment amount.

The latest official figures show that there were 5.8million people on Universal Credit on October 15.

Around 2million of those are set to benefit from the taper rate cut before Christmas.

The first recipients will start getting their increased funds today and the rest will get the boosted amount on their next pay date.

The government has cut the taper rate down by 8p in a pound – in a win for The Sun's Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

The taper rate limits the amount of earnings those claiming the benefit can keep.

Following the cut, claimants will be able to hold on to more of their cash.

The change comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak scrapped the £20 a week boost to Universal Credit, which was introduced during the pandemic.

The hike, worth £1,040 a year, was a temporary measure that was extended several times until it ended in October.

Free benefit calculators

There are several free online benefit calculators that will break down your payments and what you’re entitled to.

We've asked the organisations whether the calculators have been updated to reflect the change to the taper rate and we'll confirm when they respond.

You should have already been informed about how much your payments will be.

If you're not sure, you can access Universal Credit support through your online account.

Benefit calculators include:

  • Turn2Us
  • entitledto
  • Policy in Practice

You’ll typically need to answer information about your living situation and employment to get an accurate figure.

If you live with someone else, you’ll also need to answer questions about them.

This is because how much you’re entitled to will depend on your total household income and how much you have in savings.

Last year, Turn2Us updated its calculator to include six new questions relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

What other help is available?

Most coronavirus-related support schemes have stopped now that lockdown has ended.

But there are still ways to access extra help if you're struggling financially.

We've explained how you can access extra cash.

Claim benefits: If you're not on them already, it's worth checking if you're eligible for benefits including Universal Credit.

You can use the calculators above to work out what you could claim.

Once you've done this, use the website for more information on how to start a claim.

Free grants: Low-income families may be eligible for charitable grants to cover housing costs.

As grants are typically different to loans, most do not have to be paid back.

Turn2Us has a tool that can help you check out grants available near you on its website.

You’ll need to enter your postcode, your gender, and your age.

You could also apply to the government's Household Support Fund, designed to help pay for food, bills and other essentials.

Food banks: You might be able to get free food from your local food bank if you're struggling.

Families and individuals are referred to a food bank if they are identified as being in need of extra support.

This is usually done through a variety of different professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and Citizens Advice.

Once referred, the person gets a voucher which can redeemed for an emergency parcel with a minimum of three-days worth of food.

The Trussell Trust has an online tool where you can find your nearest food bank.

Support groups and charities: If you're worried about your finances, the Money Advice Service is an arms-length organisation set up by the government that offers free advice to help you with your finances.

You can contact them for free via their website.

You should also consider contacting Citizens Advice or StepChange for free advice.

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