Universal Credit: Disqualification

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 6th September 2019.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the rate of sanctions in areas where universal credit (a) has been and (b) has not been rolled out.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No comparative assessment has been made between Universal Credit (UC) sanction rates and sanction rates for legacy benefits.

There are differences between sanctions policy in UC and other benefits (such as Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)) which means that sanction rates across benefits are not directly comparable. For example, a JSA claimant would have their claim closed (rather than be sanctioned) if they failed to attend a meeting with their Work Coach, and did not make contact within five days. In UC, the same claimant would remain on the benefit and be referred for a sanction. If a sanction was applied, they would continue to receive the UC elements to which they remained entitled, such as those for housing or child costs. UC is designed to provide continuous support to claimants, ensuring that all payment does not cease while we investigate the reasons for loss of contact with a claimant.

The Department publishes sanction rates quarterly for UC, JSA and Employment & Support Allowance, the latest statistics can be found at the link below.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/benefit-sanctions-statistics-to-april-2019

The roll out of Universal Credit is now complete and is available in every Jobcentre across the country. By 2023, all existing legacy claimants will be moved to Universal Credit.

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