Huge benefits change is 'degrading' for disabled Brits like me – I'm scared and will be at a complete loss | The Sun

A DISABLED woman has slammed a huge Autumn Statement benefits change for being "degrading" and says she's fearful for the future.

Jeremy Hunt confirmed that benefit payments will increase in line with inflation in today's Autumn Statement.

The payment boost will come into effect in April 2024 and the average family on Universal Credit will be around £470 a year better off.

In his Autumn Statement Jeremy Hunt announced:

  • The biggest ever price hike for tobacco products
  •   A major win for The Sun's Save Our Sups campaign with alcohol duty frozen
  •   A major benefit change for renters on Universal Credit
  •   A £10,000 energy bill discount for Brits living near pylons
  •  A £192 income boost for self-employed workers
  •  A £470 payment boost for millions on Universal Credit
  •  Millions will be stripped of benefits under harsh new rules
  •  Nurses will save £500 in a personal income tax cut
  •  No fuel duty hike in huge relief for drivers

But millions of Brits also risk being stripped of their benefits under harsh new rules.



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Those who don't get a job within 18 months will be forced to take on work experience under plans to get more people into employment.

Those who do not comply will have their benefits, including access to free prescriptions and legal aid, cut off.

For benefit-recipient Michelle Maher, 59, said people need more support and not to be "demonised".

Michelle, from Brighton, struggles with neurological issues, which impacts her breathing, and cause severe tremors, and her mobility is severely restricted.

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She was forced to leave her job as a civil servant almost 20 years ago, when her symptoms became so severe she could no longer work, and was forced into early retirement.

Michelle claims Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), amounting to £275.50 a week.

She is waiting to be moved onto Universal Credit through a process called managed migration.

" I'm glad they're not cutting [payments] but the cost of living crisis is still making things very hard," Michelle said.

She also said disabled people need more help and not to feel like they are being "demonised".

Michelle said:"Now disabled people on benefits are work-shy, before we were feckless and liars, it's not right."

Michelle, who has a mortgage, says once she is transferred over to universal credit, she will stop receiving any contribution towards her housing.

"I don’t know what I will do when I will get changed over to universal credit, I'll be at a complete loss," she added.

She also believes that work assessments, where officials come round to her house and assess whether or not she is fit to work are "extremely degrading".

Michelle said: "I ended up in tears the last time I had one round – it's humiliating."

Michelle says most of her life is spent in bed and she struggles getting out and about.

She added: "I fall over an awful lot. I have a slipped disc at the moment and am going blind in one eye, and my mobility is rubbish.

"Yet I still get regular assessments to see if I should be on benefits, you have to talk about such private things, it takes away any humanity.

"I'm really scared for what's to come. This budget means nothing to the thousands of struggling disabled people like myself."

How will Universal Credit payments increase?

More than five million people claim Universal Credit.

The current standard allowance for single UC claimants under the age of 25 is £292.11 a month.

This will increase by 6.7% to £311.68 – an increase of £19.57.

The standard allowance for single claimants over the age of 25 is £368.74 a month.

This means payments will increase by £24.71 a month to £393.45.

If you live with your partner and are both under 25, your monthly payment will increase from £458.51 to £489.23 – a rise of £30.72.

If you live with your partner and either of you are 25 or over, you could see a rise of £38.78 from £578.82 to £617.60 a month.

Of course, how much extra you'll get a month depends on your current benefit level.

To calculate yours, simply multiply your monthly benefit amount by 1.067.

The following are legally required to have their payments rise with the previous September's rate of inflation each April:

  • Personal independence payment (PIP)
  • Disability living allowance
  • Attendance allowance
  • Incapacity benefit
  • Severe disablement allowance
  • Industrial injuries benefit
  • Carer's allowance
  • Additional state pension
  • Guardian's allowance

But in the documents released alongside the Autumn Statement the Chancellor also confirmed that Blind Person’s Allowance (BPA) and Married Couple’s Allowance (MCA) will also go up.

These will also increase by the September CPI figure of 6.7%.

The BPA will be valued at £3,070 and the MCA will be valued at between £4,280 and £11,080.

How to get help now

If you're struggling with rising costs and bills now there is help available to you.

For example, you could be entitled to cost of living payments of up to £1,350.

This year and into 2024, the government is handing out cash to millions of people.

Individually, the payments are worth £900, £300 and £150.

Some people may be eligible for all three, meaning a total of £1,350.

The £900 Cost of Living payment has been split into three instalments worth £301, £300 and £299.

The second instalment of £300 has just been dished out, with the third to follow in Spring next year.

A separate £300 pensioner CoL payment will be dished out this winter.

Plus, the £150 Warm Home Discount is being applied from now until March 31 next year.

And you can also get help from your local council as part of the Household Support Fund.

For example, eligible households can get up to £350 free if they live in Tandridge, in east Surrey.

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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