To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made on the effect of universal credit on the mental health of applicants with terminal illness; and how many applicant applied for universal credit under the special rules in 2018.
The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants. We are committed to supporting those with physical and mental health conditions, and ensuring that terminally ill patients are treated with the utmost sensitivity and care, when making a claim to Universal Credit.
Universal Credit provides enhanced personalised support for people. Universal Credit is 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. We have started to deliver additional training in mental health that will be available to work coaches to build their expertise and provide the most effective support.
We are continuously reviewing and improving the service for vulnerable people who claim Universal Credit to ensure that it is accessible and responsive to their needs. This includes how they are identified and supported, either from our own staff or via referrals from local services.
The information requested on special rules is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. We have committed to explore options around data sharing with the SSAC to consider how current practices could be enhanced. Analysts are currently investigating the availability of this data further.