NHS and care workers who claim Universal Credit could lose part or even all of their bonus for their work in the pandemic, government officials have admitted.
Workers were promised the bonus in March for their incredible dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.
But now, Wales Online reports the £735 payment – which works out as around £500 for most staff after deductions – could be cut thanks to government rules on benefits.
Universal Credit is means tested, which means the amount people get is determined by how much they earn.
This includes bonuses, which are considered to be the same as earnings and are treated the same way.
Every additional pound earned by someone receiving Universal Credit, whether through higher wages, more hours of bonuses means their entitlement reduces by 63p, compared to the full £1.
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It means workers should get something, but many could find their bonus is cut.
News of possible deductions to the one-off payment, has been met with dismay and seething disappointment from NHS workers.
One nursing assistant said: “I didn’t see my kids for six weeks at the start of the pandemic – not only did I sacrifice my time with them but I was also risking my life. This bonus is getting taxed at source so it’s more than £200 less than the payment that’s been given.”
“And now I could end up losing more of that because as I working single parent I claim some benefits. It feels like a massive slap in the face to be honest.”
Another NHS worker she had only been receiving Universal Credit since July 2020 due to her personal circumstances changing.
She said that despite working throughout the pandemic she would see her health workers’ bonus reduced to just £195 after tax, national insurance and universal credit take their share.
She said she “could not believe” this was happening and that it made people like her feel as though they “don’t deserve” to receive their bonuses, despite their hard work.
A spokeswoman 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 – bonuses are treated as earnings and payments are gradually reduced as someone’s earnings increase.”