A STRUGGLING mum-of-four fears the end of the Universal Credit uplift could leave her kids on the streets.
Ellen, 39, is one of six million set to see their £20 weekly benefits boost – granted to help claimants through the pandemic – scrapped in just weeks.
She told Sky News: "For me to pay my bills, it's going be very hard.
"Maybe [the government] might think the £20 is nothing – it's a big deal for us. It does help us through.
"It might help a lot even sometimes buying a week's milk for the kids, bread for the kids, it does help a lot.
"So with that £20 taken off, I think a lot of families are going to be struggling."
The mum, from Byker, Newcastle, also worries her children may end up surrounded by the wrong crowds if she can't provide for them.
"The kids, if they don't get what they are supposed to have at home they end up [in the streets].
"We keep on struggling, we keep on trying to cope."
The Universal Credit uplift was first announced shortly after Covid hit.
It was designed to help people through the difficult financial time after the number of people claiming UC shot up to six million due to the pandemic.
It increased monthly UC payments from £317.82 to £409.89 for a single Universal Credit claimant who is 25 or older.
The temporary boost was expected to last for 12 months, but this was extended as lockdown restrictions continued.
Claimants will continue to receive the additional funds until September 30, but the exact date the payment will end will depend on the day they get their UC payments.
Campaign groups, such as Citizens Advice, Turn2Us and Stepchange, have warned that removing the uplift would push thousands of families further into debt as losses will add up to £1,040 a year.
Some MPs have also called for the government to rethink its decision.
A government spokesperson said: "As announced by the chancellor at the Budget, the uplift to Universal Credit was always temporary.
"It was designed to help claimants through the economic shock and financial disruption of the toughest stages of the pandemic, and it has done so."
What to do if you have problems claiming Universal Credit
IF you're experiencing trouble applying for your Universal Credit, or the payments just don't cover costs, here are your options:
- Apply for an advance – Claimants are able to get some cash within five days rather than waiting weeks for their first payment. But it's a loan which means the repayments will be automatically deducted from your future Universal Credit payout.
- Alternative Payment Arrangements – If you're falling behind on rent, you or your landlord may be able to apply for an APA which will get your payment sent directly to your landlord. You might also be able to change your payments to get them more frequently, or you can split the payments if you're part of a couple.
- Budgeting Advance – You may be able to get help from the Government for emergency household costs of up to £348 if you're single, £464 if you're part of a couple or £812 if you have children. These are only in cases like your cooker breaking down or for help getting a job. You'll have to repay the advance through your regular Universal Credit payments. You'll still have to repay the loan, even if you stop claiming for Universal Credit.
- Cut your Council Tax – You might be able to get a discount on your Council Tax by applying for a Council Tax Reduction. Alternatively, you might be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payments to help cover your rent.
- Foodbanks – If you're really hard up and struggling to buy food and toiletries, you can find your local foodbank who will provide you with help for free. You can find your nearest one on the Trussell Trust website.
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