Universal Credit system to change next week – with thousands getting a boost

More than 85,000 Universal Credit claimants will see a boost to their payments this winter after a rule change by the government.

The Department for Work and Pensions is finally addressing an “unfair” loophole that has set struggling Brits back thousands of pounds.

But from November 16 claimants who get paid twice in a month by their employer will not be penalised the month after.

This means that an estimated 85,000 affected recipients of Universal Credit can expect higher payments – though these should only reflect what they're actually entitled to, not a bonus.

According to the previous rules, Brits who get paid twice a month are ‘over-earning’ in the eyes of the DWP system.

That means that their following UC is reduced to reflect a ‘higher’ income.

But according to The Mirror, the majority of workers are not over-earning at all.

It could be because an employer is paying them on the first or last working day of the month, so they get cash earlier or late.

The loophole has caused families to go a month without benefits, as the double payment gets docked from their next payment.

In fact, four single mums took the case to the Court of Appeal and won.

The DWP was found to be penalising a clash in paydays when assessing their UC payments.

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Between them, the four mothers fell into rent arrears, defaulted on council tax, incurred bank overdraft charges, borrowed money and even become reliant on food banks to make ends meet.

The judge concluded that the "irrational and unfair" system pushed them into poverty and forced them to rely on food banks, according to reports.

The DWP was ordered to fix the flaw – and has now confirmed the new rules will come into force in November.

It said that from next month, the benefits system will only register one payment for every assessment period to stop anyone losing out, The Mirror reports.

The responsibility for manually moving the payday will still rely on Universal Credit although it is recommended that the claimant should inform their work coach in advance if possible via their online journal.

The changes will come into effect on November 16 and will benefit workers over the festive season who get paid early due to the Christmas bank holidays.

But it will only apply to employees who are paid monthly, so won't help those who are paid weekly or fortnightly.

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