People who support Universal Credit should try reading the small print

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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  1. Simon Lee Mountford October 15, 2017 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Universal Credit is a bad benefit for everyone on it,It is about cuts and to demise those of us that are the vulnerable in society that have conditions that we were unfortunately born with. Its another way the D.W.P can keep you on the job ready program so they can sanction the claiment no matter what. its is a form of ethnic cleansing with a democratic political way of getting those who can only do so many hours or work that is very low wages, without taking the persons disability or medical condition into consideration. And too think they are supposed to be the party for the many, what a joke. We as a group of people with all sorts of conditions are having a ruff time of the Universal Credit is a cost cutting exercise to save money and make us feel like third class citizens. Things will only change when we get a change of government were it is not for the few but the many.

  2. PJB October 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    I blame the Tories and thier supporters

  3. Prickly October 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Soon, in addition to us not receiving any benefits, therefore making us homeless and unable to afford food, the govt. will try and charge us for taking up space on this planet and the air we breathe, and charge us with stealing the rain and wind that lands on us. Result – we will be in debt to them forever, commencing at birth.

  4. Susan Mitton (@suemitton1) October 15, 2017 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    #UniversalCredit is only paid to one claimant per household – Also there are strict rules for people in work. If they don’t work more hours or find better paid work they will be sanctioned.

  5. marcusdemowbray October 16, 2017 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Everything the Tories do is wrong. Government AGAINST the people.

  6. casalealex October 17, 2017 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Secretary of State questioned on Universal Credit rollout
    16 October 2017

    Amid growing calls from across the political spectrum for a pause in the Universal Credit rollout as evidence of problems continues to mount, the Work and Pensions Committee takes evidence from Secretary of State David Gauke.

    Very few statistics in the public domain

    The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has failed to respond to the Committee’s call for written evidence, or any of the four letters requesting statistics and clarifications of policy sent to the Secretary of State over the past six weeks.

    The Department was asked to respond to the questions by last Thursday, so that the Committee could go into the session with a full understanding of the current picture of the rollout and the protections in place for vulnerable claimants. Despite all this, the DWP has failed to provide any new information to the inquiry. 

    There are very few statistics in the public domain on Universal Credit.  DWP itself has never published data on the length of waits over the statutory, in-built 6 weeks: news of delays of 10, 12 weeks or longer in receiving payments was heard in evidence to the Committee.

    Seeking up-to-date information
    In seeking to get an up-to-date impression of the rollout and its effects at local level, the Committee has written to the 54 MPs whose constituents will be subject to Universal Credit full service for the first time in October, asking them to report back information.

    103 organisations and individuals managed to send written evidence to the Committee by last Friday’s deadline. A further 52 individuals have contributed to the online forum. That is in addition to the 180 organisations and individuals who contributed written evidence to the inquiry before the election was called.

    ‘Not paying hungry claimants on time’
    Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Committee, said:
    “For claimants not to receive money from Universal Credit is usually a disaster. For the Secretary of State not to answer letters shows either a huge discourtesy to Parliament or a sign that the Government knows the game is nearly up in trying to present this mega-reform as a success.

    I don’t know if the DWP is deliberately concealing information about Universal Credit or is simply incompetent. Either way, it is not good enough. This has obvious echoes in the far greater failure of not paying hungry claimants on time.

    One letter simply asked if the conference announcement on advance payments was, despite appearances, simply a restatement of existing policy. You’d think they could at least answer that one.

    We expect another announcement on Wednesday about helping councils left short by Universal Credit’s failure to account for the cost of emergency temporary accommodation, by “rolling-in” some claimants back onto Housing Benefit.

    This is overdue, but does nothing to address the fundamental problem of people being left for weeks without anything to live on.

    Given everything we have heard, I was surprised that David Gauke opted to proceed with the accelerated rollout. I strongly suspect his decision, together with the failure to tell us anything, reflects a culture at the DWP of those most invested in Universal Credit not telling anyone, including their Ministers, bad news.

    The overwhelming picture we are getting is that Universal Credit as currently configured is very bad news. We have heard nothing, to the contrary or otherwise, from those running it.”

    The Committee will be putting some of the many individual cases and scenarios it has heard to the Minister on Wednesday morning. Later in the day in the House of Commons there will be an Opposition Day debate on Universal Credit.

    Work and Pensions committee seeks evidence of successful Universal Credit rollout

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