Universal Credit: Prisoners

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Clive Lewis Clive Lewis Labour, Norwich South

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his policy is on allowing prisoners near the end of their sentence to apply for universal credit in advance of their release.

Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Universal Credit is primarily an online service. Due to restrictions on accessing and using computers in prisons, prison leavers cannot currently make a claim in advance of their release.

Prison based Work Coaches can provide information to prison leavers on the services provided the Department for Work and Pensions, including how to make a claim and any additional support available where required. An appointment can be made for the first day of release.

This additional support includes access to Universal Credit Advances of up to 50% of the household’s monthly entitlement, if the claimant needs financial support before they receive their first monthly payment.

These measures should ensure that prisoners are not disadvantaged by the inability to make advance claims prior to release.

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