Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what options her Department is considering to reduce the five week waiting time for universal credit claimants.

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

Nobody has to wait for five weeks for a payment following an application for Universal Credit (UC).

UC new claim advances provide access to a payment for those in financial need, which can be accessed urgently, until their first regular UC payment is due. 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.

The Department has taken a number of steps to ensure that advances meet the needs of claimants and that recovery arrangements are personalised and reasonable. The maximum rate of deductions cannot normally exceed 40 per cent of the UC standard allowance and does not reduce other components of an award, such as money paid for children, housing or when someone is caring for a severely disabled person. From October 2019 this will be reduced to 30 per cent and from October 2021 we are increasing the maximum recovery period for advances from 12 to 16 months.

This is just one of a number of measures the Department has put in place to support claimants such as paying those claimants moving from Housing Benefit to UC a two week ‘transitional housing payment’. We are also introducing a two-week run on for eligible claimants of Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance from July 2020.

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