Universal Credit: 13 crucial changes claimants must report – ‘Could be taken to court’ | Personal Finance | Finance

Universal Credit is a benefit distributed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to people who are on a low income or are unemployed and need help with their living costs. However, there are strict criteria to adhere to in order to claim and some changes must be reported to avoid being landed with a penalty.

How much Universal Credit a person receives depends on their individual circumstances, including age, whether they live in a couple, and whether they have children. People receive a “standard allowance”, which pays monthly rates ranging from £265.31 to £525.75, then additional amounts on top in line with the number of children they have, disabilities, and so on.

But, while this benefit can provide a vital boost to a person’s income, it’s essential for people to be on top of their applications to avoid facing a severe penalty.

A statement on the DWP website reads: “[Universal Credit claimants] could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances.”

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The DWP lists 13 important changes in circumstance a person must report, which could largely impact their entitlement to the benefit.

What changes in circumstance have to be reported?

Those claiming or applying for Universal Credit must report the following changes to the DWP:

  • If the person is finding or finishing a job
  • If the person is having a child
  • If the person is moving in with their partner
  • If they are starting to care for a child or disabled person
  • Mobile number or email address changes
  • A new home address
  • Bank detail changes
  • If their rent is going up or down
  • Health condition changes
  • If they are becoming too ill to work or meet their work coach
  • Changes to earnings (only if they’re self-employed)
  • Changes to savings, investments and how much money they have
  • Changes to immigration status if they’re not a British citizen.

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However, for those who already claim other benefits, Universal Credit is replacing the following:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit.

This means if a person or their partner starts claiming Universal Credit, they’ll stop getting these benefits and tax credits. However, it shouldn’t impact other benefits a person may be receiving such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Carer’s Allowance.

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