Universal Credit will see 700,000 Brits get access to extra £4k of unclaimed benefits – are you one of them?

Around 700,000 claimants are in line for an extra £78 per week when they move on to the controversial new system, which has so far been hit by a string of teething problems.

Theresa May has told MPs that there are billions of pounds of unclaimed benefits sitting in a pot that will be able to be dished out automatically when Brits switch to the new system.

Three million people are set to go onto Universal Credit next year as part of a staged switchover from the current benefits system.

She said yesterday: "There are £2.4billion of unclaimed benefits under the legacy system of the Labour party that will be paid to people under Universal Credit.


"700,000 people (will be) getting the benefits they are entitled to under Universal Credit."

And she added: "What we see in the changes we are putting forward is encouraging people into work and making sure work pays."

DWP sources told The Sun that under Universal Credit Brits might not have made an application for payments such as housing benefit – even though they may have been entitled to it.

But after people are moved on to the new system it will be easier to spot whether they are entitled to more money, and can submit claims for the extra cash.

An OBR report said this could be worth up to £4,000 per family – around £78 a week.

Department for Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey told The Sun Online: "Universal Credit is a benefit system designed for the 21st century, replacing the old out-of-date legacy system.

"UC will provide more support to the most vulnerable, and helps people claim their right entitlement, helping those who may not be getting the right amount.

"As people move onto Universal Credit from the old system, there are around £2.4bn of unclaimed benefits that people will be able to access – benefiting around 700,000 people."

Dave Finch, Senior Fellow at the Resolution Foundation, said: "One of the key remaining advantages of Universal Credit is that by simplifying the benefit system it should help families to claim all of what they’re entitled to.

"This would offer a welcome income boost to over half a million families, but it risks being undermined by problems elsewhere – such as the large cuts made to support for working families.

"The government needs to both highlight the remaining benefits of Universal Credit, and do more to deal with the significant problems it still faces."

How can I get access to benefits I didn't know I could claim?

You'll have to re-apply for your benefits again, and fill out the relevant paperwork.

But after giving the DWP all your information, the new system should automatically pick up whether you are entitled to more benefits.

This could include jobseeker's allowance, ESA, income support, tax credits, housing benefit or child benefits.

Universal Credit will roll all of these into one new monthly payment.

Its thought that around 700,000 Brits will benefit from it.

Roll-out of the Government's flagship welfare reform programme is expected to take place in 50 job centres.

By 2023, it is expected there will be a full roll out across the UK.

For information about whether you can claim, visit Citizens Advice.

The news will be a boost for some of the millions of people who are set to migrate over to the new system, which aims to roll several benefits into one monthly payment.

But the flagship programme has been beset with issues so far, even though only a small number of the population are on it.

The system has been plagued with delays and problems, and hundreds of complaints that benefits have been slashed by hundreds of pounds a month.

Some were missing out on hundreds due to when their pay date fell.

And one family of a boy battling cancer were so poor on Universal Credit they were forced to eat his leftover hospital food.

The Sun Online revealed earlier this year the case of a disabled man born with 17 holes in his heart who has been denied benefits on Universal Credit – and told to get a job.

Ministers have insisted that no one will be worse off going on to the new system if their situation doesn't change.

But they will only be able to access transitional protection payments for a certain amount of time under Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will be the new poll tax, Sir John Major warns

UNIVERSAL Credit could be as bad for the Tories as the poll tax, ex-PM Sir John Major has warned.

The former Tory leader attacked the Government's key welfare reforms today, saying it would lead to "deep political trouble".

Sir John said he was worried about how fast it was being rolled out and the way thousands were set to be worse off.

He told the BBC: "I am saying that if you have people who have that degree of loss, that is not something that the majority of the British population would think of as fair.

"And if people think you have to remove yourself from fairness, then you are in deep political trouble."

The poll tax – introduced in the 1980s – proved very unpopular and led to riots and rebellions, and the fall of Margaret Thatcher's government.

What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit

IF you're experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don't cover it, here are your options:

Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it's a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit pay out.

Alternative Payment Arrangements– If you're falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently , or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.

Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the government to help with emergency household costs of up to £348 if you're single, £464 if you're part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.

Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax or be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments if your payments aren't enough to cover your rent.

Foodbanks – If you're really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussel Trust website.

Yesterday ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a huge intervention in the debate, calling on ministers to halt the rollout.

He said that Universal Credit was forcing more kids into poverty, and demanded they rethink the entire system.

Ministers say the new programme will make work pay, and will encourage more Brits into work.

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