Mark Whitehead 06 February 2019

Universal Credit claimants are falling behind on housing payments warns Citizens Advice

A cut in the time people have to wait for payment of Universal Credit has made no difference to the number struggling with debt, according to campaigners.

Citizens Advice says half the claimants it sees are in rent arrears or falling behind with mortgage payments despite the waiting time being reduced from six to five weeks.

It says 60% are taking out advances while they wait for payment.

But it also found that changes made by the Government two years ago mean fewer people are falling behind on their bills or going without essentials during the waiting period.

It says only one in six people are now not paid in full and on time, compared a quarter previously.

The report, Managing Money on Universal Credit, is based on the evidence of 190,000 people Citizens Advice has helped.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: 'Half the people we help with a Universal Credit claim are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads while they wait for their first payment.

'Changes to the waiting period for first payment have improved things for many people, but our evidence shows they don’t go far enough.

'Universal Credit must continue to be reformed so it works for all claimants and leaves people with enough money to live on.'

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