To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the £20 hardship payment allocated to universal credit claimants was not also allocated to legacy Jobseeker's Allowance claimants.
The Government has announced a suite of measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised to benefit those facing the most financial disruption during the pandemic. The Department is experiencing significantly increased demand and has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall. The IT system which supports Universal Credit has more capacity to make the necessary changes than the systems that support legacy benefits. It also uses different technology from other DWP systems and these older systems have complex interactions and interdependencies.
We estimate that 2.5m households receiving Universal Credit will benefit straight away from the increase in the standard allowances which was announced on 20 March, and which is additional to the planned annual uprating. New claimants who have either become unemployed, or whose earnings or work hours have decreased because of the outbreak, will benefit too; subject to their eligibility.
We have also made a number of changes to legacy and other working age benefits in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including increasing certain entitlements, such as Local Housing Allowance. Up-to-date information about the employment and benefits support available, including Universal Credit, Statutory Sick Pay, New style Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Employment and Support Allowance, can be found here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/
The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a rapidly evolving situation and we are keeping it under review.