Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Home News Nearly half of Universal Credit claimants have money deducted for advance payments

Nearly half of Universal Credit claimants have money deducted for advance payments

The need for advance payments is becoming the new norm as thousands struggle to cope with the long wait for Universal Credit.

Nearly have of all Universal Credit claimants are having money deducted from their monthly payments to repay advances, the Minister for Employment Alok Sharma has admitted.

Advance payments were introduced to help new claimants who are sruggling to cope whilst awaiting their first Universal Credit payment, which was recently reduced to five weeks from six weeks after charities and campaigners warned the wait was pushing vulnerable households into poverty and debt.

But the latest admission suggests that the need for advance payments is quickly becoming the new norm, giving reason to calls for the five week wait to be reduced even further.

Photo: Pixabay

Responding to a parliamentary question earlier this week, Alok Sharma MP said: “Universal Credit (UC) new claim advances provide access to a payment for those in financial need, which can be accessed on the same day, until their first UC payment is due.

“Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, for which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months.

“The Department has taken a number of steps to ensure that advances meet the needs of claimants and that recovery arrangements are personalised and reasonable.

“From October 2019 we are reducing the maximum rate of deductions to 30 per cent and from October 2021 we are increasing the maximum recovery period for advances from 12 to 16 months.

“The latest available data is for eligible claims to UC Full Service that are due a payment in February 2019. Of these claims 44% had a deduction to repay a UC advance.”

His admission comes after figures revealed that more than 1 in 4 Universal Credit claimants are hit by deductions for tax credit errors.

More than one in four claimants are having money taken from their payments to repay tax credit overpayments, with the total number of those affected in the region of half a million.

Join Us On Social Media

16,664FansLike
9,384FollowersFollow

Trending Now

New Tory housing minister says rough sleepers are ‘too comfortable’ on the streets

Kit Malthouse once argued that it was "absolutely right" to make life "uncomfortable" for homeless people.

A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

UK pensioners ‘suffering the worst poverty rate in western Europe’

Tories warned against further rises to the state pension age.

DWP scraps repeat benefit assessments for 290k disabled pensioners

Move follows pressure from charities, campaigners, and others.

62 year-old woman forced to give up her home after missing a benefits meeting

She says an "unlawful" Universal Credit benefit sanction means she can no longer afford the rent.

The Latest

Universal Credit slammed as food bank use soars by 23%

Trussell Trust warns that more people than ever are being driven to food banks.

Sturgeon calls for ‘real and determined action’ on child poverty

Latest figures show that 30% of children across the UK are living in poverty.

SNP outline plan to ban unpaid trial shifts

Party to ramp up pressure on the UK government to ban "exploitative" unpaid trial shifts.

Benefit claimants to be given more help with funeral costs

Financial support for funeral costs will rise by 43% to £1000 from spring 2020.

Next government must commit to ending fuel poverty, say campaigners

More than 15,000 winter deaths in 2017/18 were caused by people living in cold homes.

Follow Us

16,664FansLike
9,384FollowersFollow

More Articles Like This