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Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether universal credit claimants who are eligible for (a) new style employment and support allowance and (b) new style jobseeker's allowance who would receive more money from one of those benefits than from universal credit are able to have their award backdated to when they made their claim.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

Universal Credit replaces six benefits with one, to simplify the system and make work pay. As a result, people claiming Universal Credit move into work faster, stay in work longer and spend more time looking to increase their earnings. Universal Credit also provides more help with childcare costs, a dedicated Work Coach and scraps the 16, 24 and 30 hour ‘cliff edges’.

Under the legacy system £2.4 billion of welfare benefits did not get paid at all because claimants could not navigate the complexity of the system. Universal Credit is putting this right, ensuring this money goes to 700,000 claimants who need it.

Claims may be backdated, by up to one calendar month, in limited circumstances for vulnerable claimants who may be delayed in claiming Universal Credit through no fault of their own. Claims may also be backdated in specific circumstances when a couple separates to ensure that there is no gap in entitlement between the couple claim and the new claim made by a single claimant.

For new style Employment and Support Allowance, a claimant has three months following the qualifying date to claim.

The Department provides benefit eligibility information to help people make decisions surrounding benefits to which they may be entitled, along with details about how to claim them. This is available through Jobcentre Plus offices and via the GOV.UK website.

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