Happy Easter and Benefits Uprating 2023

As Easter 2023 approaches, there is some welcome relief to help with the cost of living crisis that will shortly appearing in any benefits payments that you get if they haven’t already:

  • The new 2023/24 benefit rates apply from Monday 3rd April, closing some of the gap opened up by the time lag in the way benefits uprated. A 10.1% increase (based on the annual CPI inflation rate at September 2022) will bring benefit rates closer to where they need to be after the huge jump in prices triggered in February 2022 It may take tuntil next year to complete the catch up with amounts back in 2020. You can download our chart of the new rates from https://bigbookofbenefits.files.wordpress.com/2023/04/benefit-rates-2023-24-steps.pdf
  • You can also dowload Part 2 of the Updater Pack for your copy of the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health 2021-23 . This Part 2 brings your Big Book up to date with all the other benefit changes (apart from the rates right up to the Budget and White Paper announcements in March 2023. It’s available at: https://bigbookofbenefits.files.wordpress.com/2023/04/bbbmh-2021-23-updater-pack-2-march-2023.pdf
  • A new Part 3 to follow soon will bring all the pages with rates and sums on them up to the 2023/24 rates.
  • Other good news.: extra Cost of living Payments continue for 2023/24: If you get a means tested benefit such as UC, Pension Credit or one of the legacy benefits (such as Income-related ESA) you should get an extra £900 over the year. The first payment coes out as £301 between 25th April and 17th May 2023. Others will follow in Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024. To get the first one you have to have been getting one of the benefits before 25th February 2023 (or with UC have qualified for it between 26th January and 25th February) . If you weren’t at the time but later get a backdated award back to those dates you can still get te payment. Dates for the 2nd and 3rd payments will be announcedd. There are also non means tested payments to add to Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners and to disability benefits such as PIP and ADP. For more details see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cost-of-living-payments-2023-to-2024
  • BUT other restrictions remain: The Benefits Cap has also gone up by the same 10.1%, but that is the first increase in 5 years and then back into the freezer it goes. The Local Housing Allowance that limits the help you can get with private tenancies is once again frozen, despite rents rocketing in the current housing crisis. The Two Child Limit – that has no evidence behind it – continues to bite harder racking up child poverty rates and blighting the chances of future generations.
  • Are the new benefit rates enough to live on? The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Tressell Trust reckon not. They and have launched a campaign for an Essentials Guarantee, calling on the Government to set up an independent commission (as for the National Minimum Wage) to set basic benefit levels that relate to a basic essentials budget. They estimate that even the new basic rate of £84.80 a week for a single person falls well short of the £120 needed. And the £133.50 for a couple falls short of the necessary £200. And forget it if you are on reduced rates for under 25s… Still worse, some 50% of people on UC don’t even get that full rate, because of sanctions, deductions and repaying Advance Payments . For more details go to https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/campaigns/guarantee-our-essentials
  • Will there be a new edition of the Big Book of Benefits soon? We are currently working with Child Poverty Action Group and Mind on their new Mental Health and Benefits Handbook. It is a very different publication from the Big Book and doesn’t replace it. You can access the current text for free at: https://askcpag.org.uk/publications/-243337/mental-health-and-benefits-handbook-1st-edition .
  • Ongoing work on the CPAG book and what that means for a new Big Book: That work continues to improve and update the text. ahead of a revised online version and printed book. It won’t be an annual thing, just as the Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health seems to work best as a new edition every other year (with Update Packs). It makes sense then to alternate new editions of each book.
  • In the meantime the free Updater Packs will come close to bringing your current book up to date for the coming year 🙂 . If you haven’t got one you can still buy that last edition ready for some work with scissors and paper paste one wet afternoon 🙂 We will also bring all those packs into the current online version later in the year.
  • And just one more thing : In this quieter year for the current Big Book, we will finally get on with a companion Big Book of Benefits and Money for Older People 2023-25. After that the two Big Books can join that alternating years dance 🙂 .

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