Three years after the first Universal Credit claims went live, this new benefit is as controversial as ever.
BHT’s benefits trainer Jayne Knights explains both the positives, and the criticism for, Universal Credit.
Stephen Crabb has made it very clear that he has no plans for any slowing down of the rollout of Universal Credit, and the focus is now on the delivery of the full digital service in different pockets throughout the country. Areas where currently only single jobseekers are eligible to claim Universal Credit are having a very different experience to places such as Croydon, where working age people in virtually any circumstance have to find access to digital resources to both make and manage their claims.
All of the problem areas predicted by advisers, landlords, CABx, think tanks and claimants themselves are being borne out in the feedback coming from existing digital areas, including growing rent arrears, increased reliance on loan sharks and food banks due to the long wait before the first payment, and unreliable IT systems not paying on the correct paydays.
There are upsides of course, such as the more flexible approach to childcare costs, and the reduced contributions required from working non dependents.
There is also growing confusion about how and when the Department for Work & Pensions will clear up other technical problems, such as denying access to contributory ESA or JSA from legitimate claimants, and failing to include help for housing costs from people who do not have a very recent tenancy agreement.
Although the technical stuff on Universal Credit can be hard on the brain, it’s vital to know how the process is supposed to work, so that you can be on the ball when decisions need to be challenged. Stephen Crabb says publicly that all is well……..ensure that really is the case for your clients!
Jayne is running the following courses:
Benefits for Beginners – Monday 18 July
Universal Credit Digital Service Comes to Hastings – Tuesday 6 September
Benefits & Vulnerable People – Thursday 22 September
To book your place, complete a booking form and return it to us via email.