UK Credit

Universal credit problem could wipe out NHS staff bonus

A universal credit problem means frontline healthcare workers could have their Covid bonus canceled.

Thousands of NHS staff were promised the bonus last month for their efforts throughout the pandemic.

However, NHS employees will lose their bonus or part of their bonus if they or their partners claim universal credit.

Officials said the one-time payment of £ 735 – which averages around £ 500 after deductions – could be drastically reduced or even waived.

This is largely due to the way the benefit calculations are done.

The amount of Universal Credit you get is determined by how much you earn. Therefore, the more you earn, the less you earn the following month.

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘We thank all NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.

“Universal credit is a means-tested benefit – premiums are treated as income and payments are gradually reduced as a person’s income increases.”

The news of the possible deductions from the one-off payment has been greeted with dismay and seething disappointment on the part of NHS workers.

A nursing assistant recounted Wales Online : “I didn’t see my children for six weeks when the pandemic started – not only did I sacrifice my time with them, but I risked my life as well.

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“This bonus is taxed at source, so it’s over £ 200 less than the payment that was made.

“And now I might end up losing more of that because as a working single parent I’m claiming benefits. It sounds like a huge slap in the face to be honest.

For every additional pound earned by a person on universal credit – whether through higher wages, overtime or bonuses – the entitlement to benefits decreases by 63 pence, not the whole by £ 1. This means that workers must keep at least part of their premium.

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