Universal Credit: Terminal Illnesses

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 15th March 2019.

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Photo of Hugh Gaffney Hugh Gaffney Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of using existing data to pre-populate Universal Credit applications for people who are (a) terminally ill and (b) in the support group; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department has no plans to pre-populate Universal Credit applications for a number of reasons.

We want to ensure data is accurate and up-to-date to avoid transferring errors from legacy benefits to the Universal Credit system. Furthermore, the legacy system does not have all of the information needed for a Universal Credit claim. Implementing a claim on inaccurate data will lead to inaccurate awards and claimants not receiving the money they are entitled to.

It is also important to note that not everyone will want to move on to Universal Credit and the Department cannot simply assume that all existing claimants want to claim Universal Credit.

We have however said that we will use existing decisions or verification to make aspects of the process easier. For example, if a claimant has an existing Work Capability Assessment decision, there will be no requirement to have another assessment in order to receive the disability elements of Universal Credit. Also, for claimants who do not have any work-related requirements, we already operate a digital claimant commitment acceptance process and we will carry that forward when moving claimants over to Universal Credit without a change in circumstances.

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