William Eichler 06 August 2018

UC claimants lose ‘hundreds of pounds’ due to assessment timing

UC claimants lose ‘hundreds of pounds’ due to assessment timing  image

Many Universal Credit claimants are losing hundreds of pounds each year because their payday falls too close to their assessment date, a charity has revealed.

The charity Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has found that working people who claim Universal Credit have their benefits capped when their payday clashes with the new welfare scheme’s 'assessment periods’.

The research also discovered people who happen to move house at the ‘wrong’ point in their assessment period can also lose out on rent support.

Universal Credit assessment periods run for a calendar month, starting from the date the benefit is awarded. At the end of each month, claimants’ circumstances and income are assessed to determine their entitlement to UC, with payment made a week later in arrears.

However, where a claimant’s monthly payday is on or close to the first day of their assessment period and they are paid a day or two early some months, because their normal payday would fall on a weekend or bank holiday, they are then recorded as having had two paydays in one assessment period and none in the one after.

This can leave claimants facing unexpectedly low Universal Credit awards as well as losing the effect of one month's work allowance.

One in 20 cases coming in to CPAG’s Early Warning System — which gathers case evidence from welfare rights advisers across the UK — indicates a problem with the monthly assessment system in UC.

Commenting on the findings from CPAG's Early Warning System, the charity's chief executive Alison Garnham said: ‘Universal Credit isn’t working for working people. Our Early Warning System shows claimants are often left flummoxed by how much — or how little — Universal Credit they will receive from one month to the next.

‘But we believe most of the problems created by the monthly assessment system can be fixed relatively easily if the political will is there. The mass migration of families on to universal credit should not begin until these fundamental problems are resolved.’

Declaring a climate change emergency image

Declaring a climate change emergency

Local authorities can play a key role in tackling climate change – and there is plenty for them to do. Never before has thinking globally and acting locally been more important, says Mark Whitehead.
Open letter to Boris Johnson image

Open letter to Boris Johnson

The MJ's editor Heather Jameson asks the new PM a simple question: do you want to fund local government or do you want to scale back services to the basics?
Highways jobs

Senior Practitioner - Placement Finding Team

Essex County Council
£28500.0 - £50400.0 per annum
Senior Practitioner - Children and Young People Placement Service- Placement Finding Team Interviews to be held on the 10th September at County Hall, England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

People Information Analyst

Essex County Council
Up to £33330 per annum
Please note this is a fixed term contract role for a duration of 12 months. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local au England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Key stage Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£32430 - £34794
Key Stage Education Officer (Secondary Phase) to work with children in our care, supporting them in classrooms and in their homes with their education SE18 6HQ
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Solicitor/Barrister Advocate - Children’s x4

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band I, SCP 44 - 47 (£46,564 - £49,538 per annum) (£24.14 - 25.68 per hour)
To act as the principal advocate for all aspects of advocacy legal work relating to the children’s social care in the county court and high court. Sandwell Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Business Support Officer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
Band C, SCP 5 - 8 (£18,795 - £19,945 per annum) pro rata (£9.74 - £10.34 per hour)
The successful candidate will provide administrative business support to service teams within Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing. The Lyng, Health & Social Care Centre, Frank Fisher Way, West Bromwich, B70 7AW
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The June issue of Local Government News contains the full details of all the winning schemes in the 2019 Street Design Awards. From Children's Play to Pedestrian Environment, find out who has been recognised for their innovation and use of best practice.

This issue also explores how local government pension funds can hedge currency risk, how councils can best address the shortfall in school places, and an update on the number of authorities banning the use of Roundup over safety fears.

Register for your free magazine