Millions of people across the UK are receiving support from the Department of Work and Pensions. Whether they are claiming money from Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit or working tax credit.
As the country’s living costs continue to rise and the effects of the pandemic linger, these services have become vitally important to people all across the country.
With all of these recent developments, and partially as a result of changes to the taper rate and work allowance rules towards the end of 2021, around 500,000 households may now be eligible for Universal Credit when they didn’t before. This is according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Help to Save Scheme
Thousands of people could be eligible to join the Help to Save scheme. UK residents on a low income, or claiming certain benefits, could be eligible to take advantage of this bonus.
The Help to Save scheme is operated by the UK government to support families or individuals on low incomes to start to save. Anyone entitled to working tax credits or receiving universal credit can get a bonus 50p for every £1 they save. The scheme operates over a period of up to four years.
Eligible individuals can open an account and start saving immediately. However, it’s still worth setting up an account even if you can’t put anything away right now. We suggest opening an account while you’re eligible and then putting savings in there when, and if, you’re able to. Remember you don’t have to put any money into the account.
The account can be used to like a normal savings account which means you can put money in and take money out. But, it is important to know that the bonus payout is based on the highest amount of money you put in.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a benefits system designed to financially support you if you’re out of work or working with a low income. The amount of financial support you receive will depend on your unique situation. The amount you earn, what you have saved, who you live with and pensions will all be considered.
Introduced many years ago, it replaced certain benefits and tax credits, like Housing Benefits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Working Tax Credit.
There is no limit on the amount of hours you can work while receiving universal credit, however, as the amount you earn increases the amount of Universal credit you receive will decrease.
Saving Money on your Bills
As bills in the UK continue to skyrocket, many people on Universal Credit are struggling to make their payments cover their basic expenses. So here are a few helpful tips to keep your household bills down.
Change provider – The easiest way to save money on your household bills is making sure that you are using the best company for you. Consider using comparison websites to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your bills.
Wash on a cold cycle – Washing clothes on a cold cycle is great for the environment and can be a good way to keep down the cost of your electricity bill.
Ditch the tumble dryer – The tumble dryer is a very energy hungry appliance in the household. Try hanging your clothes on a washing line or an airer to avoid the extra expense of using a tumble dryer.
Change out bulbs – Switch over all your light bulbs to LED energy saving bulbs. LED bulbs use much less electricity than traditional light bulbs. According to the Energy Saving Trust, switching to LED light bulbs could save your household £35 a year in electricity bills.
Turn your thermostat down – Turn down your thermostat just a little. Reducing your room temperature by just 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10%.