Today, Havering Welfare Benefits Adviser Lorraine Moss writes in the Havering Daily:
People who are receiving Universal Credit received an increase of £20.00 per week in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This was initially intended to be for one year but was extended at the last budget.
It has now been announced that this extra payment is due to stop at the end of September. This is going to cause immense financial hardship for a large number of people.
Universal Credit is a means tested benefit; this means to be eligible the income of the household is taken into consideration. Many people who work also receive Universal Credit because it has replaced Working Tax Credits.
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit and worried how this will affect you , it may help you to do an income and expenditure check on your finances. There are many free online tools available. Please see Work out your budget – Citizens Advice. When you have finished it will then show you exactly what money you have left after all of your outgoings. It is also a good idea to check all of the direct debits and standing orders that you have. When I used to work for a bank, there were so many people who were still making payments for services that they were no longer using. If you have satellite or cable TV, you could consider dropping some of your channels. Alternatively, you can now subscribe to services like Now TV where you can pay a month at a time and cancel at any time.
With regard to your energy, check with your current provider that you are on the best tariff. You can also compare tariffs by using the Uswitch website . Some of you may also be eligible for The Warm Home Discount scheme which starts in the Autumn, please see Warm Home Discount Scheme – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
For your water bill, you may be eligible for Essex and Suffolk Water’s Support Plus tariff, please see SupportPlus (eswater.co.uk).
If your car of home insurance is due for renewal, rather than allowing your current provider to automatically renew your policy, it is better to shop around. There are a number of online comparison sites that you can use. Please ensure that you check all of the details of the new policy.
Also check the Martin Lewis website, please see https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/. This is a fantastic site for money saving advice.