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Universal Credit: Prisoners' Release

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the (a) ease and (b) effectiveness of mechanisms for prisoners applying for universal credit prior to release from custody.

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

The Department is committed to providing personalised support for all claimants. This support extends to those who are in prison, with dedicated Prison Work Coaches, who are available to support prisoners to complete their benefit claims and proceed to payment as quickly as possible, and to help them to understand what early work search activities might be helpful for them.

DWP and MoJ have been working together to understand the potential barriers to a smooth transition from prison leaving to Universal Credit for those who wish to claim it. This includes, for example, exploring the use of prison documentation as proof of identity for Universal Credit claims where that would help speed the claim. Initial work to test different approaches to supporting prison leavers showed few additional results and low take-up of the support on offer, although the support of a work coach, where it was taken up, was shown to be beneficial in terms of making a claim quickly.

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