Social Security Benefits

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Morgan Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of reports that people who are paid on the last day of the month are incorrectly showing on the HMRC database as having been paid on the first working day of the month on the ability of her Department to correctly assess an individual’s entitlement to benefits; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Universal Credit takes earnings into account in a way that is fair and transparent. The amount of Universal Credit paid reflects, as closely as possible, the actual circumstances of a household during each monthly assessment period, including any earnings reported by the employer during the assessment period, regardless of when they were paid, or which month they relate to.

Assessment periods allow for Universal Credit awards to be adjusted on a monthly basis, ensuring that if claimants’ incomes fall, they do not have to wait several months for a rise in their Universal Credit award.

Claimants can discuss queries about how fluctuating income effects Universal Credit with their case managers and work coaches, who can also signpost to services appropriate to individual circumstances.

The Department has been working closely with HMRC since Universal Credit went live to support and inform employers who report earnings to emphasise the importance of timely reporting via the Real Time Information (RTI) system.

HMRC have updated their guidance to reiterate to employers the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles; the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is also working closely with HMRC and employers to do this.

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