Universal Credit: Armed Forces

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered at on 14 November 2023.

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Photo of Rachel Hopkins Rachel Hopkins Shadow Minister (Defence)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 12 July 2023 to Question 193037 on Universal Credit: Armed Forces, how many Universal Credit claimants have been identified as (a) serving and (b) having served in the armed forces by local authority area for the most recent assessment period.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

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 September 2023 data was held on the armed forces status of approximately 67% 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.

The separate spreadsheet shows how many claimants on the September 2023 UC caseload had a recorded armed forces status of each type, broken down by Local Authority.

Spreadsheet Notes:

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. Figures in the table have been rounded according to the Department’s Official Statistics rounding policy.

3. In line with the latest published People on UC official statistics, provisional figures relating to September 2023 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 answers to previous PQs asking for similar information 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/

PQ 622 (xlsx, 36.2KB)

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