Concern over additional seven-day Universal Credit waiting period

By staff writers
June 12, 2015

The government has announced that it intends to proceed with proposals to introduce a seven-day waiting period before claimants are eligible for Universal Credit which is already paid a month in arrears.

The Social Security Advisory Committee expressed concern in a report the length of time claimants would have to wait until their first payment of benefit, particularly in regard to housing benefit the housing and recommended that the government reconsider the policy.

The Trades Union Congress General Secretary, Frances O'Grady commented: “The government should remember that people pay into their national insurance out of every pay cheque. They’ve earned their protection and should not have support withheld from them if bad luck strikes.

“People forced out of low-paid jobs by sickness or redundancy will not have savings to tide them over. So for the low-waged, waiting days will be hunger days, with food banks their only option. The public may support targeted efforts to deal with the minority who abuse benefits, but this looks more like collective punishment for people who have done nothing wrong.

“As Universal Credit will be paid a month in arrears, waiting days mean that many people who have lost their job must wait up to six weeks before they get any cash. And with child tax credit and housing benefit being rolled into Universal Credit, we could see whole families go hungry, get into debt and even made homeless because of the way the policy is being implemented.”

The government has said it will apply the policy to new claims only and not to existing Universal Credit claims where a claimant moves into the All Work-Related Requirements Group as a result of a change in circumstances.

* The Social Security Advisory Committee report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/fil...

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