A quick guide to understanding the benefits system
The UK offers a benefits/’Universal Credit’ scheme to help support you if you’re out of work, or struggling on money. This system can be very complex and intimidating often leading to many people left simply opting to not claim on benefits that are available to them. Here is a quick oversight and guide on how the benefits system works, and how this might be important to you.
Benefits in the UK are managed and looked over by a number of governing bodies depending on your situation, but largely the DfC (Department for Communities), as well as smaller Jobs and Benefits offices. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWC) manage Universal Credit across most of the UK. Benefits are also not just for those seeking Jobseeker’s Allowance if unemployed, and are available under numerous financially strenuous circumstances (pension help, disability, childcare, low income, housing and more).
An easy starting point for many is looking at gov.uk’s summary of ‘benefits calculators’. Three independent services are listed: Turn2Us offers in depth information about how to claim benefits, how they may change over time with work, as well as a short questionnaire to help guide how to start your own journey to claim any finances you may be entitled to; Policy In Practice provides a ‘benefits and budgeting’ calculator, to learn more about how budgeting changes may also affect your household income; entitledto also provides a free ‘calculator’.
Benefits are a result of the UK’s tax system, and the stigma often surrounding claiming what you’re entitled to has led to many not applying for what they are owed. Financial support and practical help are both key to helping people across the country improve their individual situations and to have the opportunity to skill up and work upwards without the severe stress of forced, incredibly limited spending. You can apply for Universal Credit online, following the criteria listed on the gov.uk website for eligibility and the laid out application process. You can also find a local benefits advisor (https://advicelocal.uk/find-an-adviser) in order to query in person about the specific benefits you believe you could be entitled to, how you would be paid and how to begin the application process. Claiming benefits can also aid your studying, as all MAES courses are free of chculator’ service to work out the kinds of benefits you could be entitled to, as well as a ballpark estimate of how much this could be. arge for those claiming UC and over 19, allowing for accessible reach to gain qualifications to reach higher quality employment in your future, as well as a path to useful careers guidance and advice.
BenefitsGuide alongside numerous alternative services provide a comprehensive insight into each specific kind of benefit offered in the UK, its eligibility and further information on how to claim.
With the sheer variety of benefits available to be claimed, it can be an overwhelming process to begin to look into. However, it doesn’t have to be one you shy away from. Any level of further financial freedom can lift a small burden off of you, and why miss out on the opportunity to be supported with these means in order to boost yourself further. A number of resources here can
be used to aid your search in what benefits you might be entitled to, how much you can expect to receive and how to apply to claim what you’re entitled to.