BENEFITS EXPERT: Be wary of scams over the £500 pandemic help payment
The government has recently given guidance and information concerning the one off £500 payment for help during the pandemic.
Please note this payment is only for people currently getting legacy benefits i.e. Working Tax Credits. Universal Credit claimants will be paid via a different method.
Firstly there is no application process, eligible claimants will be identified by HMRC.
If they have a contact mobile number you will receive a text message. Please note the test message will only confirm you are getting payment.
There is no need to ring or respond. If you get a text message purporting to be from HMRC that contains internet links, requests you call or respond to the text DO NOT, this is a scam and not a genuine text from HMRC.
Customers who have no mobile number or who have not given this to HMRC will be notified of the payment by letter.
Again the letter is just information, if it asks to call HMRC, go to a website, etc. it is not genuine and likely to be a scam. Letters and text messages should arrive no later than 19/4/2021.
The government has stated payments should go to the same bank account your usual WTC payments are made to and again payments should be made by 23/4/2021.
If you do not get a payment by this date then call HMRC on 0345 300 3900.
The £500 will not affect any other benefits such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support instead the payment is disregarded in full.
Finally the government have confirmed that if a change in circumstances requires you to claim Universal Credit and you have had the £500 WTC payment you will still be entitled to the current UC uplift of £20/week when you switch to UC.