The Government Has Made Changes to Universal Credit- Is It Enough?
- Shorter waiting times so you’ll get paid quicker
- £1.5 billion spent on the change
- Will only affect new claimants
Changes to the Universal Credit system will come into effect today.
Millions of people are moving onto the government’s Universal Credit system as it rolls out across the country, and if you’re one of them, then there’s some good news.
From today, anyone joining Universal Credit, either from other benefits systems or as a new claimant, will face a five week wait, instead of six weeks.
The move was announced in November’s Budget, and was implemented today.
One of the main complaints about Universal Credit is unnecessary length of times between registering and receiving any money.
Previously, the Department for Work and Pensions, DWP, said that the timescale should be six weeks, because the first seven days after making the claim are called ‘waiting days’.
As Universal Credit is paid in monthly arrears, there was then another four weeks to wait before they pay your money in, and then an extra week for Universal Credit to process the payment to your account.
This means that from applying, claimants have a six week wait before getting any money.
The change will remove the ‘waiting days’ part of the process, so you’ll still have to wait five weeks.
The government is finally acting after botched rollout of Universal Credit has left many in debt and arrears from not being able to pay rent, and leading to a massive increase in the need for food banks.
Currently claimants will not be affected by this, it will only have an impact on new claimants.
If you’re claiming benefits in an area that does not currently have the Universal Credit system, but will do in the future, then you may be affected.
There has been a pause in the rollout until 2019, so this will not be for a while, but if you’ve has a gap in your claim, then you may have to wait five weeks once moving over to Universal Credit before you’ll receive any money, depending on circumstances.
More changes are coming this year.
From April, a change will be made so that those who are on Housing Benefit, will continue to receive their money for the first two weeks of their Universal Credit claim.
This is to try and cut down on people getting into rent arrears, and in some cases being made homeless.
Also coming from February 2019, families with more than two children who make a new claim for Universal Credit will no longer be directed to claim Child Tax Credit instead.
Is this change going to help? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.