Universal Credit claimants could see their payments rise today after rule change
More than 85,000 Brits could see their Universal Credit payments rise today following a major change to the system.
The government has finally closed a loophole that saw some households punished for being paid twice in a month.
Until now, if a worker received two pay packets during an ‘assessment period’ then they were recorded as over-earning.
That would lead to a reduced payment the month after as the Department for Work and Pensions incorrectly assumed you were earning more per month than thought.
If, for example, there was a bank holiday and your employer brought your payday forward so you technically had two in a month, you would have your next Universal Credit payment reduced.
According to Money Saving Expert, it led some people to have entire payments scrapped.
But the DWP was ordered to change the system after a group of single mums took the situation to the Court of Appeal and won.
One mum, Danielle Johnson, was a school dinner lady who was paid on the last working day of each month.
But in some months, due to a weekend being at the end of a month, her wages are deposited in her bank account a day or so earlier.
The Universal Credit computer system interpreted this as Danielle having earned twice as much in one month and none in others, so her benefit payment would be recalculated as a result.
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This variation in benefits would cause Danielle severe cash flow problems.
Following the court ruling, the changes come into force on November 16 and could mean that 85,000 people see their payments increase.
Now, if two payments come in the same month, one will be moved to a different assessment period.
Claimants do not need to do anything but it is advised that they tell their work coach if possible.
The changes only affect workers that are paid monthly, not those who are paid weekly or fortnightly.
Minister for welfare delivery Will Quince said: "Universal credit is a flexible benefit, and we continue to make changes and improvements to make sure people have the best experience possible.
"This change will give stability to people if they’re paid two pay cheques in a single assessment period, by ensuring that their universal credit payments remain consistent.”
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