Universal Credit: Payments

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons the decision was taken to pay universal credit claims to a single bank account in a household.

Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the evidential basis was for the decision to pay couples claiming universal credit in a single payment.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

When couples make a joint claim to Universal Credit, both are responsible for servicing the claim, and both benefit from the claim. A single payment of Universal Credit enables a household to clearly see the effect of their decisions about work on total household income. The Government believes that people within a household are best placed to make the money management choices that are most appropriate for them and a single payment enables them to do just that.

Additionally, Universal Credit is designed to mirror work so that when claimants enter work there are only a minimal number of changes for claimants to undergo. As employers pay employees and do not divide salary payments amongst households, the UC payment arrangements mirror that.

Research carried out for the Department for Work and Pensions suggest that only 2 per cent of married couples and 7 per cent of cohabiting couples keep their finances completely separate, so these arrangements fit with how the majority of people organise their lives. In exceptional circumstances, if a couple do not agree on an account into which their Universal Credit is to be paid, a decision maker in the Department will nominate a person in the household. This is to ensure protection for the welfare of the family.

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