Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 21st February 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason claimants of universal credit are subject to a five week delay before payment in cases where the claimant is (a) transferring from another benefit; (b) has just left a weekly paid job and (c) has just left a job with a zero hours contract.

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

All Universal Credit claimants are subject to an initial assessment period, regardless of the circumstances that have led to a claim. Assessment periods allow for Universal Credit awards to be adjusted on a monthly basis, ensuring that if a claimant’s income falls, they do not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit award.

To support claimants with the move to Universal Credit, we have announced that from July 2020 their existing DWP legacy benefit will continue for two weeks with no requirement to repay the overlap. A similar run-on is already in place for Housing Benefit claimants who move to Universal Credit as a result of a change in circumstances.

New claimants to Universal Credit can also apply for a Universal Credit Advance in their first month if they need some financial support until the first regular payment of Universal Credit is made.

We have previously increased the maximum amount available for advances from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of the total award, and increased the repayment period from 6 months to 12 months.

It was also announced in the 2018 Budget that from October 2021 we will extend the maximum period over which advances can be recovered from 12 to 16 months. This will enable the maximum possible advance return to current levels for all claimants.

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