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Government Benefits; How to Make the Best of Them

Recent surveys have shown that out of ten households, nine have received one form or the other of government benefit. Government assistance can be either in the form of social services, medical care or even accrued unemployment benefits.

These benefits can be enjoyed directly, (i.e. where donations are received) or through subsidization. In subsidization, the government meets some of the cost, thereby making sure you spend less and save more. Money not taxed is actually similar to money provided for spending. In this article, you will find the advice on government benefits you need to make the most of your circumstances.

Here in the UK, there are different categories of benefits as outlined below;

Family Benefits

These include services such as the Child Trust Fund (CTF), and an allowance to the guardian. CTF allows you to open a savings account for children. It’s a long term account which is free from the taxman. You can opt for either the CTF account or the regulated junior accounts.

A guardians allowance can be applied for by parents who are bringing up a child and or children on their own. It could be because the blood parents of the said child have passed on or you are a single parent. The allowance is based on a weekly basis and is placed about £15.00 per week.

Persons with Disability Allowances

It’s a provision for allowances for the blind and for other persons affected by disability. The blind enjoy an allowance which is not taxed. Those who fall under this category can claim by contacting the HM customs and revenue. Their allowance ranges from £2,000 at the minimum since last year (2015).

Disability benefits and allowances are reserved for applicants who are 16 years and below, and need assistance with things such as washing and dressing. You will be required to produce a valid passport and or bank statements, birth certificate, and a driving license. The disabled persons allowance is different for different applicants but ranges from £20-£80 and is issued on a weekly basis.

Tax Credits

This has everything to do with tax credits, the checks, calculation and overpayments among others.

For tax credit newbies, you can claim by contacting your nearest local office or simply go to telephoneguide.org. You can also make use of their online platform. It takes anything between 2 days and 2 weeks for you to receive your application form. Tax credits can be applied for individually or jointly (for couples). Upon receiving your call, the tax officers will enquire some details such as your previous years’ income and your insurance number Note: provide genuine information as errors can cost you a penalty of £2,800 or above. It’s important to keep all record proof such as pay slips and bills.

Did you know that you can also apply for tax credit if you just had a baby? Tax credit for a child can go up to £3,200 per annum, while the one for working can be anything close to £1,500 issued on a yearly basis as well.

Death Benefits

These are received by the bereaved families. It’s a government’s way of aiding you through the most trying times. They include the former widow’s pension now known as bereavement allowance and payment for funerals.

The bereavement allowance is open to persons widowed between 45 years and the pensionable age. The benefits are received for about 50 weeks since bereavement. The amounts received depend on the applicant’s age. The older you are the higher amounts you will receive. The allowances range from £30.00 to £130.00. Applications for the bereavement allowance are made by filling out the ‘bereavement benefits pack’, or by calling the bereavement helpline.

The funeral payments allow you to request for help in arranging a funeral especially if you are on a low income. The allowances you get depend on the prevailing circumstances but the funeral expenses such as the coffin, flowers will be given around £800. Applications for this government benefit are made by filling in the SF200 form or on phone by calling the bereavement service help line.

Please note: Funeral payments must be made within three months after the funeral.

Low Income Benefits

These ones are tailored for people on low income or who are hunting for jobs. They include job seekers allowances and reduced earnings allowance among others. Some of these allowances are also available to immigrants.

You are probably on the road hunting for a job. Apply for JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) as you look for work! The amounts you get vary on your age as well as savings. Payments range from £50.00 and are made bi-weekly. JSA is applied online after which you are invited for an interview. Failure to attend the interview leads to automatic disqualification. 

The reduced earnings allowance is for persons who cannot earn as much as they used to. The reduction could be caused by some illness or you probably experienced an accident. One can get roughly £60.00 on a weekly basis as reduced income allowance. Claim by filling in a claim form and sending it the relevant state offices.

As long as you are eligible, there are very many ways you can benefit from government assistance. You only need to know how to claim entitlements based on your circumstances. Make applications and observe the set timelines and you’ll appreciate how much the UK government can do for you.

 

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