To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 June 2023 to Question 187857 on Universal Credit: Armed Forces, how many Universal Credit claimants have been identified as (a) serving and (b) having served in the armed forces for the assessment period ending on 1 July 2023.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) started collecting data on the Armed Forces status of Universal Credit (UC) claimants in Great Britain (GB) in April 2021. At first only new claimants were asked about their Armed Forces status. From June 2021 onwards, other UC claimants reporting changes in their work and earnings have also been able to report their status. From July 2021 onwards, UC agents have also been able to record claimants’ Armed Forces status if they are told about this via other means such as journal messages, face-to-face meetings or by telephone.
Data coverage continues to improve over time and by May 2023 data was held on the armed forces status of approximately 64% of the GB UC caseload (see table below). It should be noted that Armed forces status is self-reported by claimants and is not verified by the Ministry of Defence or Office for Veterans’ Affairs. A claimant’s status can be recorded as “currently serving”, “served in the past”, “not served” or “prefer not to say”. Data is not collected on the specific branch of the Armed Forces that claimants are serving in or have served in in the past.
Data is not held on the total number of UC claimants who are currently serving in the Armed Forces or who have served in the past, but data is held on those who have identified themselves so far.
The way the data is collected means the claimants for whom an Armed Forces status is recorded are not representative of the UC caseload as a whole. This means it is not yet possible to produce reliable estimates of the overall number or proportion of UC claimants who are currently serving in the Armed Forces or who have served in the past.
Increases in the numbers of claimants with a recorded status of “currently serving” or “served in the past” do not necessarily mean the overall numbers of claimants who are currently serving or have served in the past have increased and may reflect increases in the number of claimants for whom data is held as data coverage improves over time.
The table below shows how the proportion of the GB UC caseload with a recorded Armed Forces status has changed over time. It also shows how many claimants on the caseload had a recorded status of each type.
GB UC caseload by recorded Armed Forces status
UC caseload month
Proportion of caseload with a recorded status
Served in the past
Prefer not to say
No recorded status
May 2023 (provisional)
1. Data is not collected on the Armed Forces status of UC claimants in Northern Ireland. The figures provided only relate to Great Britain.
2. Percentages are rounded to the nearest percent and numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred.
3. Provisional figures to May 2023, in line with published People on UC official statistics, are provided and may be subject to retrospective changes as more up-to-date data becomes available or if methodological improvements are made.
4. Due to methodological improvements, these figures are based on the Official Statistics UC caseload definition. Some previous figures have used an alternative caseload definition based on assessment period end dates.
5. Further information on the caseload definition used for the UC official statistics can be found on Stat-Xplore: https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/