I’ve just been laid off and I’m due some holiday pay - when can I claim Universal Credit?
You can claim immediately, but depending how much holiday pay you are due, and when, you may be better off delaying your claim until you receive it. If you are due a significant amount of holiday pay in the next few days / couple of weeks, then it is more likely that it would be better to delay the claim until after you receive this payment. This is because this payment from your employer will reduce your UC award.
If you are entitled to a work allowance and the amount of holiday pay (and any wages you are still due) is less than this allowance, then you should claim immediately. This is because the payment from your employer will be totally disregarded - so it won't affect your UC award.
If you are not sure what you are best doing, contact a Benefits Adviser.
My hours are reducing at work and I’ve been advised to claim Universal Credit, but I have been told that, because I am paid monthly, the date I claim can make a big difference – can you explain this?
NOTE: If you are currently getting Tax Credits these can continue if the reduction in your hours is just temporary due to the Coronavirus, so it is best that you check whether claiming UC is the best option for you.
Up until 16th November 2020 it was true that monthly earners needed to consider when to claim Universal Credit because they could end up with two months wages being counted in one Monthly Assessment Period meaning a large drop in entitlement.
However, in June 2020 the Court of Appeal found that taking two monthly wages into account in one Monthly Assessment Period where one of these wages had been paid early due to non-banking days was irrational and unlawful and so the DWP have had to change the Regulations - which took effect on 16th November 2020. But although the Regulations say the DWP should 'move' the wages so there aren't 2 in one month and one in the next, it appears this is still something they have to do manually, so the claimant has to keep an eye on their payments and if it's not been done, ask the DWP to do so.
My partner has Coronavirus so the whole family has to self-isolate. We’re getting Tax Credits to top up her income, but no Housing Benefit as our earnings are too high. We’re waiting to see if anyone else comes down with Coronavirus but, because our only income is now Statutory Sick Pay and Tax Credits, we are going to struggle to pay the rent. We don’t want to claim UC and would rather stay on Tax Credits if we can. If we delay claiming UC to see what happens (as this could just be a short term thing) - but then decide to claim UC - will we be able to get the claim backdated?
Unfortunately, delaying claiming UC for these reasons wouldn’t fall under the rules that would allow a claim for UC to be backdated.
In the short term, as your partner is receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) she is still treated as being in work for Tax Credit purposes, and so your Tax Credits can continue.
You may also wish to contact a Benefit Adviser to do a benefit check to compare any potential UC award with your current Tax Credit entitlement and then make an informed decision.
Also, let your landlord know about your current situation.