The role of a Deputy is to manage a vulnerable person’s finances. This includes anything from settling utility bills on time to applying for welfare benefits. As clients lack capacity to manage their finances, almost all are eligible and in receipt of welfare benefits. The welfare benefits system is in the process of a radical restructuring with the introduction of Universal Credit. The Budget, presented by The Chancellor of the Exchequer on 29 October 2018, brought in further changes to the benefits system and how it works.

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit is the new “all-together” benefit awarded by the state. If you are in receipt of Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income based Employment and Support Allowance or Income based Jobseekers’ Allowance, your benefits will soon be replaced by Universal Credit. This benefit will be paid monthly, to mirror having a salary.

Universal Credit is being introduced in stages across the United Kingdom. If you are already in receipt of this benefit, recent changes may be of interest to you.

What changes has the Budget announced with regards to Universal Credit?

If you or someone you know are in paid employment, you can still claim Universal Credit as long as you do not exceed the monthly threshold for earnings. The Budget presented on 29 October 2018 increases the Work Allowances by £1,000 per year. This means you will be able to earn more and keep your Universal Credit award.

From 2020, everyone currently in receipt of income-based ESA or JSA will receive 2 weeks support when transitioning to Universal Credit. This is to ensure that you are not left without an income while you are being moved over from your current benefits to Universal Credit.

The Budget has also announced changes with regards to Universal Credit for self-employed people, as well as reviewing the timetable for implementing this and working on providing additional support for the transitioning period.