In the week beginning 8 April, the benefits and state pensions paid to millions of people rose. But not for everyone. Most working-age people have seen no increase in their benefits for four years – they have been frozen at the rates first paid in 2015/16.
Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit for singles over 25 will remain at £73.10 a week – as it has been since April 2015.
If it had risen with inflation it would be £78.60 a week. In real terms it is worth £5.50 a week less, a cut of around 7.5 per cent. The same freeze has applied to tax credits that boost low pay and to Housing Benefit, which helps with rent.
Bereavement Support Payment is for spouses and civil partners bereaved under pension age, for a death since 6 April 2017. It will remain frozen at £2,500 plus £100 a month for 18 months for those without dependent children and £3,500 and £350 a month for those with.
By contrast the state pension rises in line with earnings or prices or 0.5 per cent, whichever is the highest – the so-called triple lock. This year the rise in earnings was the highest of the three at 2.6 per cent. So the new state pension has just risen by £4.25 to £168.60 a week and the old basic state pension, paid to people who reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, by £3.25 to £129.20 a week.
Many people get more or less than those standard amounts.
Women claiming on their husband’s contributions will get a £1.95 a week rise to £77.45.
Extras added to the pension rise by 2.4 per cent, which was the inflation rate last September.
Disability benefits also rise by 2.4 per cent.
There will be another £2.05 a week on the higher rate of Attendance Allowance for people over 65 and younger people on Personal Independence Payment, which will both be £87.65.
The standard rates will be £58.70 a week, a rise of £1.40.
Carer’s Allowance will increase by £1.55 to £66.15 a week. For that the carer has to look after a disabled person for at least 35 hours a week – an hourly rate of £1.89.