Benefit rate changes for 2020

By Peter Smith, Financial Advocate and New Business Advocate for Dosh

April generally brings a review of benefit rates and this year is no exception. There is some welcome news for working age benefit recipients, and a one-off increase for Universal Credit recipients to reflect the current Coronavirus situation. Pension benefits continue to enjoy the ‘triple lock’, which means they increase by the most favourable amount calculated from three different elements. Let’s look at some of the changes, starting with working age benefits.

The then Chancellor George Osborne announced a freeze on the personal allowance element of benefits in 2016, but that has changed for 2020 and for the first time in five years the basic personal allowance element will increase by 1.7%. This change affects Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance (both personal allowances and the work-related activity component), Income Support, Child and Working Tax Credits, some elements of Housing Benefit and finally Universal Credit. You can see some examples of the increased figures on our benefits uprating poster.

For Universal Credit (UC) recipients only – so this does not apply if you are in receipt of any other benefit – there will be an additional amount of £20 per week, paid for the next twelve months until April 2021. As UC is actually paid monthly this means that the standard allowance for a person over 25 will increase from £317.82 per month to £409.89 per month. Other components of UC are also increased by 1.7%.

There is also welcome news for those who receive help with housing costs either via UC or through Housing Benefit. If you are subject to the limits provided by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) – so if you rent from a private landlord, for instance – then the LHA will also increase by 1.7%.

This is also the first increase in this allowance for five years.

For pension age benefit recipients, then both State Pension and the minimum amount of Pension Credit increase by the triple lock figure, which for 2020/21 is based on the average earnings index, and brings an increase of 3.9%. Please see the uprating poster for some examples of what that means in pounds for Pension Credit. State Pension entitlements are all individually calculated, so people can have different amounts, but the full amount of the new State Pension goes up from £168.60 per week to £175.20.

Disability benefits like Personal Independence Payment and Disability Living Allowance have continued to be increased each year while the other benefits were frozen. This is also the case for 2020, and these benefits are also increased by 1.7%. Again, please see our uprating poster for some examples of the actual figures. This increase also applies to the disability premiums payable with some means tested benefits like ESA and Pension Credit, so they will rise too.

While most benefit increases lag behind the increases in earnings, it is good to see some relaxation of restrictions this year with the basic personal allowances and the LHA. Hopefully this will be of help to those who need it most.

 

If you are supported by Dosh, your Financial Advocate will include these increases on your next Money Plan.

If you manage your own benefit and want to check you are getting the benefits you are entitled to, you can use an online calculator: www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators or view all the relevant rates for each benefit at www.gov.uk/browse/benefits. For a more detailed review, Dosh can conduct a Money Check.

April 28th, 2020

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Summer Newsletter 2019

Welcome to the Dosh Money Pack newsletter for Summer 2019!

This edition of the newsletter was put together by Grace Calvert, our Dosh Financial Assistant.

Download the full newsletter to read all our updates and tweet us @DoshTweets or contact us to tell us what you think.

This is a quarterly newsletter and the next one will be out in the summer. If you have ideas for future newsletter pieces, please get in touch!

 

This edition includes:

 

 Dosh logo

The Dosh team

 

Dosh News

 support

Project 2000

 

Universal Credit update

WCAinfo and PIPinfo – benefits assessment websites

 cost icon - image of tag with picture of coins and paper notes

Supporting energy customers in vulnerable circumstances

 local authority

Council Tax guide

benefits

Support for Mortgage Interest Loan

PIP Benefits

 

Financial Advocacy in Action

August 22nd, 2019

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Dosh Summer Newsletter 2018

dosh logo

Welcome to the Dosh Money Pack newsletter for Summer 2018!

This edition of the newsletter was put together by Lia Herbert, our Dosh Financial Assistant and Meike Beckford, Dosh Financial Advocacy Manager.

Download the full newsletter to read all our updates and tweet us @DoshTweets or contact us to tell us what you think.

This is a quarterly newsletter and the next one will be out in the summer. If you have ideas for future newsletter pieces, please get in touch!

 

This edition includes:

 

 Dosh logo

The Dosh team

 

Dosh News

 support

Help with PIP claims

 

Universal Credit update

 

New project launched: Your Money. Your Life.

 cost icon - image of tag with picture of coins and paper notes

Care charges explained

 

Dosh money awareness training

 

Financial Advocacy in Action

 

August 2nd, 2018

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Getting ready for Universal Credit

By Meike Beckford, Financial Advocacy Manager for Dosh

Universal Credit is replacing some of the main benefits you and people you support receive.  There are some things you need to be aware of now and some actions to take to ensure you and the people you support continue to get the right benefits. Ignoring this now could cost them £1,000s and cause everyone more work later.

This is a basic overview to give you key facts. It does not include all criteria for Universal Credit and you should not rely on it as benefits advice for any individual person. This gives you some key highlights to help plan how to support people with Universal Credit.

Benefits

 

Key facts

Universal Credit replaces current means tested benefits:

  • Job Seekers’ Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – income-related
  • Housing Benefit (except for social housing)
  • Working and child tax credits

It does not affect:

  • DLA, PIP, or Attendance Allowance
  • Pension Credit or State Pension
  • Housing benefit for people in ‘specified accommodation’: getting support at home and renting from a Housing Association, charity or non-metropolitan borough council (if you’re not sure, check the exact criteria for exemption)

 

Moving to Universal Credit

New claims for these benefits are now on Universal Credit.

People who already get the ‘old’ benefits, will be moved to Universal Credit in the next years under ‘managed migration’ – this protects their income so they won’t lose out – they will get a top-up if their Universal Credit award is lower than their old benefits.

Some people may trigger a Universal Credit claim earlier, in which case it is treated as a new claim and they don’t get any income protection.

who

 

Who it will affect

Once the area you live in is a “full service area” all new claims will go through the online Universal Credit system – you can check your area here: www.universalcreditinfo.net

Some people are likely to be affected earlier:

  • People who do not have an ESA (or other means-tested benefit) claim yet (e.g. people in transitions)
  • People who move Local Authority areas to a private landlord
  • People joining or leaving a couple where one person claims UC
  • People found fit for work (although this can be appealed)

 

When you apply

The person getting benefits (claimant) or officially managing benefits for them (appointee, guardian or deputy) will need:

  • ID – photo ID for the claimant like a passport or driving licence is best, but other (non-photo) documents are accepted. The person may need to go to a job centre appointment and answer some questions about themselves.
  • Email address – the claimant or appointee will need to apply using an email address and check this regularly
  • Online access to make and manage the claim

The person will be asked to sign a claimant commitment, for example to search for work. Make sure this includes any reasonable adjustments they need and if they have been assessed to have “limited capability for work” or “work-related activity” under ESA make sure this is transferred to Universal Credit. If they lack capacity to sign this, no-one else can sign on their behalf.

 

What to do now

Think about the support a person will need:

  • Do they need support managing post or filling in forms so they can respond to any letters about moving to Universal Credit? Make sure letters will be picked up quickly and support given to respond.
  • Do they need support to learn IT skills, get online and get an email address if they are going to manage their own claim?
  • Do they have capacity to manage their benefits? If not, they need an appointee (or guardian/deputy). You can tell if they already have an appointee by checking benefit letters.

If someone is planning to move, check if this will trigger a Universal Credit claim. Think about if it is a private landlord and change of Local Authority area. Involve their appointee early on to check this.

If you will be supporting someone new, particularly through transitions, ask if they already have a claim for ESA (or similar)? If not, a new claim for Universal Credit may be needed.

Look at what ID they have. Try to find documents like birth certificates, tenancy agreements and any photo ID while you have time. If they have nothing, think about applying for a passport, driving licence or other photo ID if you can.

Get benefits advice before starting any Universal Credit claim. Once it’s started you can’t go back to the old benefits!

support

 

Where to get help

  • If you have a Dosh advocate, speak to them about when Universal Credit may affect the person you support.
  • Dosh Money Check – speak to the Dosh office about getting a benefits assessment from Dosh which will include checking for Universal Credit
  • Look online at www.universalcreditinfo.net or www.gov.uk/universal-credit
  • Speak to local benefits advisors at the Local Authority or Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

 

Please note, while every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this factsheet, it does not constitute legal or benefits advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Neither Dosh Limited nor any other member of the Thera group of companies accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

May 31st, 2018

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