Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what representations she has received about the effect on vulnerable people and those with mental health conditions of joint claims for Universal Credit which are paid to one person in the family.

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

We recognise that the move to a single monthly household payment is a significant change and therefore for a minority of claimants, alternative payment arrangements can be provided to help them manage that change. These include: managed payment of the Universal Credit housing cost to landlords; making payments more frequently than monthly (e.g. twice monthly); and splitting the payment between partners within the household.

Splitting payments between partners is normally considered to prevent hardship to a claimant and their family, for example if the Universal Credit claimant is not managing their financial affairs and cannot or will not budget for their own or their family’s basic day to day needs.

We take seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants. Universal Credit provides enhanced personalised support for people by simplifying the benefits system. All claimants, including vulnerable claimants and those with mental health conditions, receive continuous tailored support managed through personal work coaches, who know each person’s case.

Additionally we can offer Personal Budgeting Support which aims to prepare claimants for the financial changes Universal Credit brings. It provides transitional support to help them manage their monthly payments and prioritise essential bills, such as rent and utilities.

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