Martin Lewis reveals 1million people are missing out on Universal Credit support worth hundreds a year – how to check

MARTIN LEWIS has revealed that 1million Brits could be missing out on Universal Credit support worth hundreds of pounds a year.

A shake-up to benefit rules mean you could be missing out on claiming extra cash, but there's an easy way to check.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the change to the taper rate in this year's budget meaning more workers can keep their benefits, even as their earnings rise.

The taper rate previously slashed the amount claimants get by 63p for every £1 earned over a certain amount, but that has been reduced to 55p.

So for every extra pound earned, the benefit payment will be reduced by 55p – an additional 8p per pound going to claimants, in a major win for The Sun's Make Universal Credit Work campaign.

Work allowances also increased by £42 a month.

The means the amount people with children or those with a "limited capacity for work" can earn before their Universal Credit is cut has gone up.

If you were already claiming Universal Credit you could now be eligible for a higher payment.

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In addition, around 600,000 households who were previously not able to get the benefit may now be able to.

Martin Lewis, the founder of MoneySavingExpert, said families should investigate whether they could get a payment using a 10 minute benefits calculator.

If you have a household income of less than £30,000 a year – particularly if you have children – it is worth double checking.

Families with two or more children and high rent payments should also take a look if they've got a combined income of up to £50,000.

In his latest newsletter Martin said:"Major recent rule changes to the state's 'universal credit' welfare payments mean there are now more than one million eligible people likely missing out – including a new clutch of 600,000 who are now eligible but weren't before.

"So if you're on a lower income, it is worth spending a bit of time to check if you're one of them."

How much extra will I get?

The amount of Universal Credit you can claim is dependant on many different factors.

Everyone who is eligible to claim is entitled to the standard amount, which varies depending on your age and whether you live with a partner.

You can then get additional cash if you've got children or are disabled, and extra to cover housing and childcare costs.

It's hard to work out how much extra you might be eligible for following the taper rate change due to the different variables.

But many families will get a boost of £1,000 or more to their Universal Credit payment.

Who is eligible for Universal Credit?

In order to qualify for Universal Credit, you must be on a low income or out of work, and need to be over 18.

You, or your partner, should be under State Pension age and must live in the UK.

You won't qualify if you and your partner have more than £16,000 in savings between you.

To find out whether you're eligible for extra help following the changes to the taper rate and work allowance, you can use an benefits calculator.

You'll need to provide details of your savings, income, existing benefits and pensions, outgoings and your council tax bill.

Poverty charity Turn2Us provides an online benefits calculator, and you can also find one on EntitledTo's website and with Policy in Practice.

How can I apply for Universal Credit?

you can apply for Universal Credit online by creating a government website account.

In order to access the benefit, you should submit your claim within 28 days of making an account.

You will then have to attend an interview at a Jobcentre Plus, which will be within 10 days of submitting your application.

If you have a disability or health condition you may also need a work capability assessment.

People who are struggling with bills or other costs while they wait for their first payment can apply to get an advance.

Otherwise you will have to wait five weeks to receive your cash.

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