Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Mark Hendrick Mark Hendrick Labour/Co-operative, Preston

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 18 September 2018 to Question HL9912 on universal credit, if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of the steps that the Government is taking to ensure the accuracy of the electronic verification of universal credit claimants who meet the eligibility criteria for free school meals.

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

The Department works closely with the Department for Education (DfE) to assist it deliver its Free School Meals policy.

DWP has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with DfE over the transfer of data from the Universal Credit system to the Passported Benefits Eligibility checking system. Data is received from the Universal Credit system, on a daily basis. This means that the data is at most 23 hours and 59 minutes old, depending on when the claimant / agent last updated the record.

If a claimant has an open Universal Credit full service claim their take home pay is compared against the earning threshold. As a safeguard for claimants who have fluctuating earnings, the take-home pay is checked going back up to 3 months. In these cases, the take-home pay is aggregated to give an amount for use in the eligibility calculation.

DfE have processes in place to inform and deal with delays to ensure no claimants lose out as a result of this.

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