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So much is wrong with the minority Conservative government’s idea of Universal Credit that it doesn’t just need to be “paused” and “fixed” – it should be scrapped and completely rethought.

We already know about the six-week (at least!) wait before any new claimant – or claimant transferring from another benefit – is allowed to have any money. We already know about the taper rate scam (63 per cent? Why are the poorest in society being taxed more than the richest?).

We already know the whole system is set up to ensure that people receiving the benefit remain poor. Here’s ‘James L Johnson’ (it’s a pseudonym), writing in The Independent: “As six types of benefit are now combined into one universal credit payment, any deductions for take-home pay will have an effect on the entire sum, when at other times they might have retained their housing benefit, for instance, but lost their jobseeker’s allowance. Many claimants in work now find that they are hundreds of pounds worse off per month, to their shock, after a six-week wait.”

Some of us recently discovered that two payments for people with disabilities are not being incorporated into UC, meaning they will be scrapped. They are the Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP) and Severe Disability Premium (SDP).

According to Steve Topple in The Canary:

The Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP) and Severe Disability Premium (SDP) currently give disabled people with high support needs £15.90 and £62.45 a week respectively. But under Universal Credit neither [pdf p3-4] payment exists. These, along with ESA and Income Support, will be replaced with the following paymentsunder Universal Credit (NB: the amounts are for single people over the age of 25, without children and unable to work through ill health or disability):

  • Standard allowance – £317.82 per calendar month (pcm), or £73.34 per week.
  • Limited capability for work (only for claims started before 3 April 2017) – £126.11 pcm or £29.10 per week.
  • Limited capability for work and work related activity – £318.76 pcm or £73.56 per week.

So in total, people who claimed Universal Credit after April 2017, but were previously getting ESA support group rate (£109.65 per week), EDP and SDP, will be set to lose £41.10 a week – as they currently receive £188 a week versus £146.90 under Universal Credit. This means a loss of £2,137.20 a year.

The article goes onto explain the DWP’s claims that there are safeguards – and why these claims are, for the most part, nonsense.

This Writer will try to remember to write a Freedom of Information request on take-up of those safeguards after they have been operating for a statistically significant period of time.


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