Woman looking into empty purse

Universal Credit help – what’s available?

For those of us on Universal Credit, it’s important to check we’re getting all the help we’re entitled to.

As the cost of living soars, there’s a raft of Universal Credit help we can claim so we can make ends meet.

Some of these things relate to health. There are certain earning criteria, but if we qualify we can get:

  • free NHS prescriptions, NHS dental treatment, wigs and fabric supports
  • free sight tests
  • help with travel costs for NHS treatment
  • help with the cost of glasses and contact lenses

The NHS has an online tool to work out if we’re eligible. To apply, we need to show our Universal Credit award notice. It’s important to remember that not all forms have a tick box for UC.

In these cases, the NHS says we should tick the box for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance instead.

Kids’ stuff

If we have kids, there are other things we can claim to help with the cost of family life.

Children get free school meals in certain year groups, but if our kids don’t fall into this age range we can still claim if we’re on UC. Our income (not including benefits) needs to be below £7,400 a year (£7,320 in Scotland) and we can apply through our council.

In England, we can also get up to £150 per child to pay for school uniform, but the amount varies from council to council. Some grants are as low as £20.

All councils in Wales pay £125, and in Scotland it’s at least £100. In Northern Ireland we can get £35.75 for primary kids and up to £78 for secondary pupils to pay for uniform and PE kids. We have to apply to the Northern Ireland government rather than our council.

There’s other help out there

There’s also a raft of other things we might be able to claim. We could get up to a 100 per cent discount on our council tax and half-price travel tickets with a Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card. We could also get free or discounted broadband and gym membership.

Get the new Quids in! Universal Credit Guide which covers everything we need to know about claiming, and there’s loads more advice on UC on the Quids in! website.

Photo: Mike Saran/Bigstock

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