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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the debt incurred by individuals as a result of being scammed into claiming an advance for universal credit.
On the 18th September 2019 we brought in changes to the application process for Universal Credit advances to protect innocent people from these scams.
In order to determine whether an individual is liable to repay an advance, we look at the strength of evidence provided. Our investigations play an important part in establishing whether a claimant has had any involvement. In some cases, we will be able to establish that a claimant was entirely innocent and did not benefit from the payment, in which case we would not seek to recover the money from them.
As each case is different and is judged solely on its merits, and as our investigations are still ongoing, it is not possible to accurately estimate the amount individuals could be asked to repay.