Gwyneth Paltrow Attempts to Live on Benefits - What might you be entitled to this year?

Gwyneth Paltrow Attempts to Live on Benefits - What might you be entitled to this year?

Gwyneth Paltrow is raising awareness for New York food bank by attempting to live on just $29 of food per week (around £19.70) - the equivalent of NYC food bank's weekly food stamp allowance. The challenge was initiated by celebrity chef Mario Batali.


However, despite her best intentions Paltrow has bee criticised for her 'unrealistic' food choices, choosing items such as kale and avocados (everyone knows avocados are a luxury item). Furthermore, the menu proposed by Gwyneth from her weekly shop amounted to less than 1000 calories a day - around half of what is recommended by the NHS. Today at Unlock the Law we take a look at UK state benefits in the new tax year and find out whether you too could be entitled to more avocados.

Can I make a claim for benefits in THE UK?

Although the actress makes a little more than makes her eligible for state benefits, here in the UK many people believe they earn too much to make a claim despite being eligible for certain Government benefits.

A recent article by Money Supermarket highlighted that in certain circumstances, households earning up to £73,000 may be able to claim for certain benefits. They have produced a handy benefits calculator so you can check quickly and easily online whether you are due any state benefits. Benefits are available to the following groups:

  • People with dependent children, especially those with a disabled child, a large family or who spend a lot on childcare.
  • Those who are unemployed.
  • Those who have an illness or disability,
  • with an illness or disability.
  • Carers, guardians, pregnant women, recent parents, the widowed and the over-60s.
  • Those aged over 25 who have no children, work more than 30 hours a week and earn less than around £13,000 if single, or £18,000 in a couple.

The law relating to benefits can be complex and is ever changing. The new tax year has come around and with it has come some small changes to the benefits system including the introduction of "Universal Credits".

The Universal Credits system is being rolled out in stages, and will be applicable to those on a low income or who are out of work. There will be no limit to the number of hours you can work and continue to receive your universal credits, however they will be reduced as you begin to earn more. Once implemented in your area, you will claim Universal credit instead of:

  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support

If you are already claiming benefits you don't need to do anything - you will be told when and how the introduction of Universal Credit will affect you in due course.

Universal credit will also be paid differently to the way other benefits are paid. It will be paid once a month directly into your bank account and if you and your partner both claim Universal Credit, you will be paid a single payment to cover both of you.

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