Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Jonathan Reynolds Jonathan Reynolds Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of new universal credit claims made since 3 May 2020 were unsuccessful; what proportion of those claims were unsuccessful because of income and capital rules; and what proportion of (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful universal credit claimants were eligible for contributory (i) jobseekers allowance and (ii) employment and support allowance since 3 May 2020.

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

The Department has been working to ensure we get support as quickly as possible to those individuals and households most financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a longstanding principle of Universal Credit (UC) that an assessment of earnings, other income and capital is needed to establish eligibility to target support to those most in need. There may be several reasons why someone is not eligible to receive UC, will have received a nil award or withdrew their claim. Among other reasons, this includes:

  • speculative claims which were subsequently withdrawn;
  • found new employment (which may at present include being rehired under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or taken advantage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme);
  • redundancy payments affecting their entitlement;
  • the last month’s salary taken account. The key principle of UC is that it’s calculated based on income, so if someone’s income from work drops, their UC payment will rise to top it up;
  • their claim may have been found to be fraudulent; and
  • Individuals may have capital saved above the £16,000 limit for UC entitlement.

Between 4 May and 23 June inclusive there were 702,000 declarations made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these

58% received a UC payment

9% had a nil award due to earnings

6% were withdrawn by the claimant

1% closed due to ineligibility regarding capital rules

20% closed due to other ineligibility reasons

7% have outstanding verification preventing payment

Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding

Claimants move from existing benefits to UC when they experience a significant change in their circumstances that triggers a new claim to benefit. We do not centrally collate the number of claimants that have made a new claim to UC as a result of such a change in circumstances.

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