The rules for repaying Universal Credit prepayments are changing.
From the next month, people have 24 months to repay the amounts owed, instead of the current 12 months.
The Express reports These prepayments can be used to help new applicants during the five week wait for their first payment.
In addition, the maximum rate at which deductions can be made from a universal credit premium will decrease from 30 percent to 25 percent of the standard allowance.
These measures, which were published in the budget, will take effect from April this year, after they were previously supposed to have entered into force from October 2021.
However, the extended repayment period only applies to new prepayments from April. The sun reports.
The move is welcomed by many people struggling financially with lockdown as they have more time to repay the amounts owed.
It is in line with other measures in the budget aimed at easing financial pressures on those who need help most – for example, extending leave.
Individuals applying for a universal loan must wait a month while an evaluation period takes place.
This was one of the criticisms made when setting up the benefit – that people might have to wait too long to get help.
New applicants typically receive their first payment seven days after the end of their first evaluation period.
If a person finds themselves in financial difficulties during this waiting period, an advance payment can be requested – although they will have to repay it.
However, no interest is paid on this advance, which means that the total amount repaid is equal to the amount originally paid out.
For those who need prepayment, it is possible Apply online.
“The maximum advance payment you can get is the amount of your first estimated payment,” the government website says.
Advance payment can be requested through the applicant’s online account or through their Jobcentre Plus work coach.
The government website on the subject states, “You must:
- Explain why you need an advance payment
- Verify your identity (you do this when applying to a work coach online or by phone).
- Provide the bank account details for the advance payment (speak to your work coach if you cannot open an account).
Who is entitled to universal credit? A person can apply for a universal loan if:
- You have a low income or you are unemployed
- You are 18 years or older (although there are some exceptions if the person is 16-17 years old)
- You are under retirement age or your partner is
- The individual and their partner have savings of £ 16,000 or less between them
- You live in the UK.
For more information on using universal credit, see the government website here.