DWP could face legal action over delayed-by-design Universal Credit payments

Disability researcher Samuel Miller has appealed for anyone affected by the issues outlined in this story to contact him, with a view to launching a lawsuit against the Department for Work and Pensions.

Mr Miller writes: “If the Citizens Advice study is factual, I would be prepared to help initiate a lawsuit against the DWP.

“I previously consulted with Leigh Day, a London law firm, on a benefit sanctions case. Legal fees for an initial consultation with a human rights law firm can be raised via crowdfunding sites.”

His e-mail address is: [email protected]

Design flaws in the government’s troubled universal credit system are leaving vulnerable claimants hundreds of pounds in debt and dependent on food banks, according to a study of how the system is working in practice.

The main cause of difficulty is a built-in delay to universal credit which requires claimants to wait at least 42 days before receiving a benefit payment. This has left some claimants penniless, stressed, forced to borrow cash to pay rent or utility bills and struggling to buy food.

The system, which is being being slowly rolled out across the UK and is years behind its original schedule, is also dogged by computer processing errors, poor communications with claimants, and delays in fixing simple administrative problems, says the study by a group of Citizens Advice offices.

It says that although universal credit assumes claimants are paid monthly in arrears – and therefore if they lose their job they can manage until their first benefit payment – half of low paid workers are paid weekly, meaning they must last for six weeks on a single week’s money.

More than 60% of the study’s respondents reported that they had found it “very difficult” to pay rent, utilities and food bills during the 42-day period. A third had waited even longer for their claim to be processed, with one in 10 waiting at least 63 days.

The study says these problems undermine the aims of universal credit because “claimants are forced into focusing on getting their benefit income into payment, finding food for their families and negotiating late payments of bills with their landlords and others instead of looking for work”.

Source: Flaws in universal credit system leaving vulnerable people penniless, says study | Society | The Guardian

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6 thoughts on “DWP could face legal action over delayed-by-design Universal Credit payments

  1. ian725

    I would just love to see them hauled into the courts hopefully for a positive judgement against them. However if they found no case to answer the publicity can only help the people and be detrimental to this monstrous Government.

  2. Joanne

    I was put on universal credit after i came out of work. They left me with no money for just under 8 weeks with two children to feed and bills to pay. They did give me an advance payment of just over £500 that they take back at £93 pound a month. And I had to pay rent and uniforms for school out of it so it left me with hardly anything. If it hadn’t been for my mum and dad borrowing me money I wouldn’t of been able to feed my girls. I had bailiffs letters sent out to me because of council tax that I obviously couldn’t pay due to no money coming in. They wanted me to pay just over £700 to them plus £75 to the bailiffs company. Eventually it was sorted and I had to pay £250 to council tax and the £75 to them. I also found out that when you find a job they take 65p of every pound you earn which is ridiculous. Then they wonder why people don’t want to work. It was such a horrible time in my life and I feel for anyone that has to go through what I have had to over the last few months. I’m still struggling now as after I pay everything out im left with little to live on for food and that to last till the nxt pay day.

  3. sallyannedik

    Im on ESA which is also paid in arrears im told after waiting 6 weeks for first payment and sending in sick notes every 3 mths i was left without money for three weeks whilst they processed my next sick not if in arreas as were told why as they would have owed me one mths money . But no they made me wait again then paid it into my bank both payments for a mth within 3 days in two paynents of fortnightly payments so im dreading christmas as next sick note got to be sent then and they will be off work at that time will i be left without any monies again has taken two mths to sort things out again at the bank !! Just dread it now as they know i can never work again due to my disablity and have waited nearly two years now for the medical for support or work group . Thanks for listening .

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