Can you claim Universal Credit on furlough?

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Announcing the extension of the scheme, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the scheme will continue paying 80 percent of a worker’s wages up to a maximum of £2,500. The Chancellor said the intended outcome of the extension was to “give businesses security through the winter”. The Chancellor said the security provided by the same would “protect millions of jobs”.

In addition to the furlough extension, Mr Sunak announced billions of pounds of support for other sectors of the economy.

This includes increased financial help for the self-employed.

Support through the Self Employment Income Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering the period of November to January calculated at 80 percent of trading profits to a maximum of £7,500.

At the same time, the Chancellor raised guaranteed funding for the UK’s devolved administrations by £2billion to £16billion.

Can you claim Universal Credit on furlough?

If being on furlough means your income is reduced by a significant proportion, you may be able to claim Universal Credit.

As long as you fit the basic requirements of Universal Credit, you will be able to apply for it alongside your furlough money.

If it turns out you are eligible for Universal Credit, the earnings you receive while on furlough will be treated like any other income.

This could affect how much Universal Credit you will receive.

If you were contracted to work less than 16 hours a week before being put on furlough, you could also be entitled to receive the new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Also, if you received Universal Credit before you were put on furlough, your payments will continue.

You don’t need to tell Universal Credit that you have been furloughed when making your claim.

HMRC will automatically inform the benefit of your reduced take-home pay and your award will be adjusted automatically.

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You won’t be entitled to JSA if you were contracted to work 16 hours or more a week, even if your income has dipped since being on furlough.

If you want to claim Universal Credit, you have to be:

  • On a low income or out of work
  • Aged 18 or over
  • Aged under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • Living in the UK

If you’re currently receiving other benefits, like working tax credits, you would have likely seen a boost during the first lockdown.

People who have been furloughed will be pleased to know there will be no changes to your entitlement while the scheme is ongoing, according to the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group.

If you are earning less because you’ve been put on furlough, you may also see your Working Tax Credit payment rise.

Similarly to the Universal Credit claim, you don’t need to tell HMRC if you’ve been furloughed.

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