Tens of thousands of people are expected to be eligible for more Universal Credit payments than they are currently using.

This includes people who originally thought they could not claim.

Ten of thousands of homes across the country have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, either through loss of work or businesses struggling.

It means many have been dipping into their hard-fought savings to tide them over.

This is because those with more than £6,000 in savings see their Universal Credit support reduced. 

And if they have savings over £16,00 they get no support at all.

But with the economy struggling for over a year and a half now because of the lockdown, people are being urged to check again to see if they are eligible for help.

Financial guru Martin Lewis from company Money Saving Expert is one of those urging people to check whether their savings have now dropped below what is the threshold for claiming.

Universal Credit Eligibility

You might be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • You’re out of work or on a low income
  • You’re aged 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17)
  • You or your partner are under state pension age
  • You and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings
  • You live in the UK

If you think you're entitled, you can apply for Universal Credit online via the Gov.uk website.

How much Universal Credit you can claim

  • For those single and aged under 25, the standard allowance is £344
  • For those single and aged 25 or over, the standard allowance is £411.51
  • For joint claimants both under 25, the standard allowance is £490.60
  • For joint claimants where one or both are 25 or over, the standard allowance is £596.58

It comes as the Government said fraud and error overpayments in the benefits system reached record levels last year, fuelled by bogus Universal Credit claims.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates it overpaid £5.5bn of Universal Credit in 2020-21, with checks relaxed to ensure a record number of new claims could be processed and paid.

The department said the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent relaxation of these checks were the main drivers of the increase in overpayments, with the DWP estimating these factors accounted for £3.8bn in overpayments.