Increased Universal Credit payments

Universal Credit is the controversial new welfare system, which replaces six benefits - including working tax credit and housing benefit - with one monthly payment.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work

  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)

  • you’re under state pension age (or your partner is)

  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you

  • you live in the UK

There's no set amount you can earn, or set number of hours you have to work, as these vary by claimant.

The Universal Credit standard allowance - the amount you're paid each month - currently ranges between £251.77 and £498.89 depending on your age and whether or not you're part of a couple.

You can get extra on top if you have children, a disability or health condition, or you care for someone with a disability.

But on Friday, March 20, Mr Sunak revealed he was upping these limits by up to £1,040 for new and existing claimants from April 6.

This is on top of a planned increase linked to inflation.

The rise is automatic so you don't need to do anything to get it.

In addition, Mr Sunak suspended the self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor for everyone affected by coronavirus.

He says this will enable more self-employed people to access the benefit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for workers, which is at least £94.25 a week.