Six changes to benefits and Universal Credit happening next year explained

PAYMENT of benefits including Universal Credit could change next year with new rules and tweaks coming in.

Millions of Brits get extra support and it's worth checking how changes could affect the money you get.

Nearly 2million Universal Credit claimants who are in work have already experienced a change to payments.

The taper rate affecting how much you have to pay back has been slashed, meaning workers can keep more of what they earn.

Benefit dates can also change before the end of the year, as there are bank holidays over the Christmas period.

You can check out the festive payment schedule in our guide, including for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit.

But in 2022 there will be further changes too – here's what you need to know…

Employment Support Allowance (ESA) – March 2022

People who are ill or disabled can apply for ESA help, and you could get up to £74.70 a week.

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When Covid hit, the government made tweaks to the benefit allowing those eligible to make a claim from the first day they were absent from work – instead of the usual eighth.

This rule will be kept in place until March 24, 2022.

You're eligible for ESA if you're under state pension age and you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You need to have worked either as a self-employed worker or as an employee, and you can't get ESA if you claim Jobseeker's Allowance or Statutory Sick Pay.

Child benefit and tax credit payments – April 2022

Anyone getting child benefit or tax credits paid into a Post Office Account will no longer get payments from April 2022.

That's because the accounts are closing and you'll need to arrange to get the money paid into a different account before then.

The accounts were due to close this year, but thousands of Brits have been given longer to sort out the pay arrangements.

You can check out what you need to do if you're affected in our guide.

Surplus earnings threshold – April 2022

Universal Credit claimants will continue to get the higher surplus earnings threshold of £2,500 until April 2022.

After this time, it will be reduced to £300.

Surplus earnings are taken into account in your next monthly assessment period for Universal Credit.

For example, if your monthly earnings are more than £2,500 over where your payment stopped – the current threshold – this becomes "surplus earnings".

These surplus earnings are then carried forward to the following month, where they count towards your earnings.

If your regular income and surplus earnings are then still over the amount where your payment stops, your Universal Credit payment will be affected.

The extension of the higher earnings threshold was confirmed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Budget in March.

Benefit rate rise – April 2022

Many benefit rates are set to rise next year by 3.1%, the government has confirmed.

That means you could get more money paid from April 2022.

For example the Universal Credit standard allowance will rise by £10.07 a month from £257.33 to £265.31 for those single and aged 25 and over.

You can check out all the new rates for Universal Credit rates here.

Also rising is the State Pension and those getting the maximum amount under new rules will be almost £300 a year better off.

You can check out the new state pension rates here.

Anyone getting housing benefit and allowances for looking after others will get more money too.

Check out the full list of benefit rates rising from next Apriland how much more you'll get.

Minimum wage rise and National Insurance increase – April 2022

The minimum wage is set to rise for millions of Brits next April, giving them more in their pockets.

The legal minimum for those aged over 23 (known as the National Living Wage) will increase to £9.50.

For those under 23, the rates for the National Minimum Wage will also rise, but by how much depends on your age.

The pay rise could affect the benefits you get if they are based on your income, so it's worth checking what you get and if there are any changes.

At the same time National Insurance rates will rise, so you could be paying more tax too.

If you're not sure what's happening with a benefit payment then speak to your work coach.

Universal Credit and state pension payments – November 2022

Post office accounts will close in November for anyone getting payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

That includes Universal Credit and state pension payments.

Again, the accounts had been due to close this year, but its' been extended to give people more time to make other arrangements.

The November deadline is later than for payments that come from HMRC – child benefit and tax credits – and those are due to end in April, as explained above.

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