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Universal Credit: What to do if you can't pay your rent or mortgage

Daily Express logo Daily Express 2 days ago Jackie Annett
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The reminder comes as charities are calling on the Government to do more to help struggling families, after latest statistics show nearly twice as many households are struggling to pay their rent than before the pandemic.

Homeless charity Crisis said 190,000 renters in receipt of Universal Credit are at least two months behind with their payments according to these figures.

It comes at a time when British families are struggling to survive as food, petrol and energy bills soar.

Universal Credit is paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to Britons who are struggling to pay for everyday living costs, but they can also get help with their rent or mortgage payments depending on their circumstances.

This applies whether people rent from a private landlord, a housing association or local authority or have a mortgage on the property.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak 'about to raise Capital Gains Tax' say experts

dad and daughter © Getty dad and daughter

The charity warns that the 70 percent increase in people struggling to pay their rent is "far worse than we feared".

It is now calling on the Government to take immediate action to prevent hundreds of thousands of families from falling even further behind with rent or mortgage payments.

Chief executive Jon Sparkes, said: "It's vital that the government use the upcoming spending review to reverse this decision and reinstate the £20 lifeline so we can prevent struggling families from losing their homes this winter.

"Anything short of this could be catastrophic."

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The Government's spending review is due to conclude at the same time as the Chancellor's Autumn Budget on October 27 and will set out the Government's spending priorities for the year ahead.

However, it's unlikely that Rishi Sunak will reverse his decision to end the £20-a-week uplift which has been a lifeline to many families during the last 18 months.

Almost six million (5.8 million) people are currently claiming Universal Credit because they are out of work or on a low income.

This is double the amount of claimants needing help before the COVID-19 pandemic.

universal credit infographic © Express universal credit infographic

Universal Credit has replaced six benefits (including Housing Benefit) with one single payment.

How much money someone receives towards their rent or mortgage will depend on their circumstances such as whether they have children or a disability or health condition that prevents them from working.

Payments can also differ depending on which part of the country someone lives in, so it's best to check with the individual local authority.

The Department for Work and Pensions will ask for evidence before paying Universal Credit housing costs.

Claiming for assistance with mortgage payments is a little bit more complicated.

People can only get help with their mortgage payments if they have been claiming Universal Credit for 39 weeks or more, with no extra income.

The amount they receive will depend on the amount of outstanding mortgage or loans.

It is calculated using a standard interest rate, and it is usually paid straight to the bank, building society or lender. More information can be found at GOV.UK.

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