Stack of cash for Christmas

UC boost for workers in time for Christmas

Some of us could be in for a small rise in our payment this month

Changes to Universal Credit announced in October have come into effect, meaning some of us may be a bit better off this Christmas.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in his Budget in October that the taper rate – the amount our UC is cut by when we’re also earning – would fall from 63p to 55p for every pound that we earn.

He also raised the work allowance – the amount some of us can earn before the taper rate comes in – by £42 a month.

This means that if we’re on the lower work allowance, we can earn £335 before our UC is affected (up from £293) and if we’re on the higher rate the amount is £557 (up from £515).

If we’re going to benefit from the change, we’ll find the details in our monthly UC statement.

The boost comes after the £20 weekly uplift to our UC payments, introduced at the start of the pandemic, was taken away at the start of October.

But if we’re not in work, we won’t feel the benefit of these new changes at all unfortunately.

If we’re struggling to work out what we’re owed, we can put our details into an online benefit calculator.

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday this year, that means there are two bank holidays the following week (27 and 28 December).

If our UC payment would have been due on either of these dates, we’ll receive it on Christmas Eve instead.

It’s a similar story the following week, when 3 January will be a bank holiday. For those of us expecting a payment then, we’ll get it on 31 December.

And for those of us on certain benefits (see the list here), there will be a £10 Christmas bonus this year. We don’t have to claim it, if we’re eligible we’ll get it automatically in our payments.

If we think we’re eligible but haven’t received it we should contact the Jobcentre Plus office that deals with our claims.

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