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Coronavirus: What's Changed - Extra £20 a week
Coronavirus - Extra £20 a week
From 6th April 2020 the Universal Credit Standard Allowance and the basic element of Working Tax Credit increased by £20 a week or £1040 per annum for a 12 month period.

In the March 2021 Budget it was announced that this will be extended for UC 6 months from April 6th 2021 to September 201 and that the Working Tax Credit uplift is replaced by a one-off payment of £500 (click here).

Universal Credit:

NOTE: The increased Standard Allowance took effect from the first Assessment Period that ended on or after 6th April 2020. Whilst all other increases (apart from the LHA rates) took effect from the beginning of the first Assessment Period after 6th April 2020.

The rates are:

2019/20

2020/21

 2021/22

Single under 25

£251.77

£344.00

 £344.00

Single 25 or over

£317.82

£411.51

 £411.51

Couple both under 25

£395.20

£490.60

 £490.60

Couple one or both 25 or over

£498.89

£596.58

 £596.58


 

Working Tax Credit

The basic rate of Working Tax Credit for 2020/21 increased from £1,960 to £3,040.

HMRC has confirmed that increases to the basic element of WTC were applied to claims in batches over a 35-day period from 9th April 2020 which resulted in the increase from 6th April 2020 being paid as arrears.

Where a claimant was in receipt of Housing Benefit at the time of receiving these arrears payments - they should have been treated as capital and not as income.

HB Circular A7/2020 confirmed that:
'This means that in cases where HB claims do not see the increased rate of the additional earnings disregard and increased rate to the basic element of WTC applied to individual claims within the same benefit week, overpayments are not created.'

NOTE 1: The Housing Benefit 16/30 hour disregard has been increased from £17.10 to £37.10 for 2020/21 to make sure that those WTC claimants who benefited from the £20 a week increase didn't necessarily see a subsequent drop in their Housing Benefit.

NOTE 2: The Benefit Cap levels have not been adjusted in line with this £20 increase. Therefore a claimant whose total welfare already exceeded the Benefit Cap level before the increase (and are still affected by it) will not see any extra money in their UC award.

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