niversal Credit intends to bring together a collection of working-age benefits into a single streamlined payment. It intends to help claimants and their families become more independent and, in the process, simplify the benefits system.
As of January 2015, there were 26,940 claimants on Universal Credit: most of whom have simple claims ie single people who would otherwise have been eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, including those with existing Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credit claim
As of 13th July 2015 it will start to be rolled out in Ealing. Initially it will be rolled out across all Job Centres Acton, Ealing and Southall (and crucially not for all benefit claimants.) Universal Credit will roll out to new claims from single people,
The Government is insisting that people are paid their benefits monthly rather than weekly or fortnightly. The stated logic is that monthly benefit payments will prepare people for the world of work.
In our experience, paying benefit monthly – will mean that people will be without support for the first month and will end up with increased rent , council tax and other arrears.
For people paid monthly it is reasonable to assume that their last wage packet (assuming no deductions are made) will last them the whole month before they get any support. However only
half of all employees earning under £10,000 per year are paid monthly; four in ten of those in the lowest two income quintiles are paid weekly. Most benefits are paid fortnightly or for weekly
We fear that people on low incomes or those who rely on benefits all of whom budget weekly or fortnightly will face a very bleak month.
If you think you are likely to struggle Ealing Advice Service is starting a new anti poverty this April to try and help people cope with the changes. Please contact us if you would like help.