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Benefits, pensions and minimum wage rising

Most benefits and the National Living Wage will go up by about 10 per cent to reflect inflation

As the new financial year begins many benefits are rising to help us manage the cost of living.

Most benefits and the state pension will rise by 10.1 per cent from April 2023. This rise is higher than usual as it’s based on the inflation rate – and inflation has been sky high in recent months.

And the National Living Wage will rise from £9.50 per hour to £10.42 per hour if we’re over 23. If we’re 21 or 22 it will rise to £10.18 and if we’re 18-20 it will go up to £7.49.

But also this month, some of us will see our mobile and broadband bills rising by 17 per cent. (It’s a good time to see if we qualify for a social tariff though. These special deals could bring our bills right down.)

Council tax and water bills are also rising for many of us, possibly by as much as five to seven per cent.

Earnings and Universal Credit

If we’re on Universal Credit and our payments are affected by how much we earn, this limit is rising too.

If we get help with housing costs, the amount we can earn before our UC tapers off is rising from £344 per month to £379.

And if we don’t get help with housing costs, the amount is rising from £573 per month to £631. Anything we earn above this limit will cut our UC by 55p for every pound we earn (or that our partner earns).

If we’re claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the amount we can earn before our benefits are affected will rise from £152 to £167.

Back in January 2023, another Universal Credit threshold changed. From 30 January, the amount we have to earn to avoid being placed in an intensive work search group rose from 12 hours to 15 hours at National Living Wage (£10.42 per hour for over-23s). 

This means we have to earn £617 a month (or £988 for a couple) or we will be placed in an intensive work search group. We may face more pressure from our Work Coach to earn more money.

But there are many reasons why this rule may not apply to us. We should be exempt if we’re disabled or have long-term health issues. If we’re carers or responsible for children there are also special rules for us.

Do a benefits calculation!

As part of the changes this month, the benefit cap will also be raised by 10.1 per cent.

And while the cost of living remains so high, we should make sure we’re claiming everything we’re entitled to. We can do this with the Quids in! benefits calculator.

Circumstances and rules on claiming can change, so we may be eligible for something without realising. Be sure to share any benefits wins with Quids in! at editor@quidsinmagazine.com.

Image: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

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