Universal Credit

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 19th May 2022.

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Photo of Darren Jones Darren Jones Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason there is a three month relevant period that claimants have to wait to receive their full entitlement when eligible for Universal Credit with limited capability for work and work-related activity.

Photo of Darren Jones Darren Jones Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment her Department has made of the impact of the three month relevant period on eligible universal credit claimants' financial wellbeing.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

No assessment has been made.

Where a claimant is determined to have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), an additional amount of Universal Credit may be awarded. However, before the additional amount is payable, the claimant must serve the ‘relevant’ period, a 3-month term used to establish that they have a long-term health condition. This replicates the 13-week assessment period applied to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims. This period starts on the day the Department first receives medical evidence or a self-certificate from the claimant.

The reason that a 3 month period applies to most claimants is one of equity. It would not be fair to pay some claimants earlier than others because of circumstances beyond their control. There are exceptions for people who are terminally ill to ensure that they quickly receive the support they need as they have a short time to live or people who have previously claimed Universal Credit and have already served the relevant period and are returning to the benefit and whose circumstances meet certain specified criteria.

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