Across the UK, millions of people are claiming money from the Department of Work and Pensions, taking the form of either Universal Credit, Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.
Since the start of the pandemic, these varying forms of credit are seen to be even more crucial to people all across the country in order to help them with basic living expenses.
In recent developments, as a result of changes introduced to the taper rate and work allowance rules towards the end of 2021, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates that around 500,000 households may now be eligible for Universal Credit when they didn’t before.
What is Universal Credit?
Universal Credit is a benefit to support you if you’re working and on a low income or you’re out of work.
It was introduced to replace certain benefits and tax credits, including Housing Benefits, Child Tax Credit, Income Support and Working Tax Credit.
The amount you get in Universal Credit can vary, depending on what income you earn from work, pensions or have available in your savings.
Whilst there are no limits on how many hours a week you can work if you’re claiming Universal Credit, the amount you get will gradually reduce as you earn more – so you won’t lose all your benefits at once.
Help to Save scheme.
The Help to Save scheme is something that thousands of people on a low income, or claiming certain benefits, could be eligible to join.
Operated by the UK government, Help to Save allows people entitled to Working Tax Credits or receiving Universal Credit to get a bonus of 50p for every £1 they save over a period of up to four years.
It is also possible to take the money out from the account, but there’s a catch – the bonus payout is based on the highest amount of money you put in.
Even if you’re not able to set aside money for savings at the moment, open an account anyway, while you are eligible to do so, because you don’t have to put any money in.
How can you save money during the pandemic?
Create a budget.
“Our first way to help you save money during pandemic-times will always be to build a budget, which helps you to see where you could cut-back and save,” commented Ben Sweiry, co-founder of US loans connection service, Dime Alley.
If you haven’t done so already, a budget is the easiest way to see where your money goes and make sure that it covers important expenses and priorities, such as retirement and emergency savings.
Less takeaways and more home-cooking.
According to a study by KPMG, the average UK consumer spends £451 a year ordering in takeaway food.
If you simply decide to get a takeaway once a month instead of once a week, you’ll see quick savings happening which could really help you in the long-term.
Not only is it better to homecook than get takeaways every week, you want to make sure you’re getting the best possible prices on your grocery shop.
Supermarkets often have a price-match guarantee, but it is always worth looking up items you regularly buy on other online supermarkets, just to check you’re getting the best possible price on your weekly shop.