With Universal Credit starting to be rolled out across Birmingham, here’s a quick True and False Quiz to help you gain a better understanding of the ins and outs of the new means tested benefit.
For more information, keep an eye out for our November E-bulletin which offers more detail about Universal Credit.
All claims for Universal Credit will have to be made online.
Most claimants will have to claim online, but there may be telephone and face to face services for those people who are unable to manage their claims online and need support.
Under Universal Credit, jobseekers will be expected to treat looking for work as a full time job.
‘Jobseeker’ claimants are normally expected to spend 35 hours a week looking for work but this can be reduced / restricted in certain circumstances (for example, if you have ill-health or have caring responsibilities).
Where there is a non-dependent living in a claimant’s household, a deduction of £70.06 a month will be applied to any award for housing costs.
The non-dependent deduction (NDD) under UC is a flat rate amount of £70.06 per month regardless of the non-dependent’s income. In some circumstances, however, there is no deduction. For example, where the non-dep is under 21, is a boarder/lodger, or where the non-dependent (or claimant) gets Attendance Allowance, PIP (daily living component) or DLA (middle/ high rate of the care component).
Under Universal Credit, for those who are unable to work due to illness or disability the current ESA ‘support’ component will increase from £36.20 per week to more than £70 per week.
The UC equivalent of the support component is the limited capability for work related activity element which will be paid at £318.76 per month (£73.56 per week) but note that there are no equivalent disability / severe disability / enhanced disability premiums in UC. This means that many claimants with disability / ill health may be substantially worse off under the UC system.
All UC claimants will be expected to do some work related activity.
Some claimants will not have any conditionality attached. For example, those in the ‘support’ group, those with child under the age of one, carers.
Many young people will be financially better off under Universal Credit.
According to DWP, 300,000 claimants under the age of 25 will be better off, i.e. those in low paid work who currently don’t qualify for WTC because they are under 25 / don’t work 30 hours +.
An Overpayment of UC will be recoverable even if it occurred as a result of a mistake by the DWP (official error).
But there will be discretion not to actually recover the overpayment. A minister of the government said that it was the intention not to recover many overpayments which had been caused by official error. Challenges can also be made about whether there has, in fact, been an overpayment and whether the overpayment has been calculated correctly.