To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of claimants who received advance payments (a) below the value of, (b) the same value as and (c) above the value of their first universal credit payment in the most recent month for which data is available.
Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, for which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months. From October 2021, this maximum repayment period will be extended from 12 to 16 months.
The Department ensures claimants are made aware of their maximum advance entitlement and informed that their Universal Credit award will be adjusted over the relevant recovery period to take into account the advance of benefit they received.
The available data shows that in the 12-month period up to the end of April 2019.
(a) Around 20% of claimants take an advance which is less than 50% of their actual award value
(b) Around 75% of claimants take an advance which is between 50-100% of their actual award value
(c) Around 5% of claimants take an advance which is over 100% of their actual award value.
To note on C): in a small number of cases the information provided by the claimant at the point of their new claim initially indicates a higher award than is actually applicable when the first assessment period has been completed.