Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 4th December 2020.

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Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims have been subject to deductions; what the average amount was of those deductions; what the total sum deducted from those claims was; and what proportion of those deductions was, on average, for the purposes of repaying advance payments, in each constituency, in the most recent month for which data are available.

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

From 3rd April 2020, deductions from Universal Credit for some government debt, such as Tax Credits, benefit overpayments and Social Fund Loans were suspended for 3 months. This was done to ease the financial pressure of debt recovery on benefit claimants and to also allow Debt Management staff to be re-deployed to focus on the unprecedented volume of new claims received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Universal Credit advance repayments are made gradually over 12 months, and deductions are capped at 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance. This is further to the reduction of the overall maximum level of deductions from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance since October 2019.

From October 2021, the repayment period will be extended from 12 months to 24 months deductions cap will be reduced from 30% to 25%.

For those who find themselves in unexpected hardship, advance repayments can be deferred for up to three months in certain cases.

The requested information surrounding deductions to Universal Credit payments by parliamentary constituency is shown in the attached table.

PQ122792 Table (xlsx, 71.7KB)

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