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The Government Has Made Changes to Universal Credit- Is It Enough?

February 16, 2018, 4:00 PM
  • Shorter waiting times so you’ll get paid quicker
  • £1.5 billion spent on the change
  • Will only affect new claimants
Universal Credit is changing to make waiting times shorter. Image: Getty

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.

dorey69over a year ago

This government is a joke. That many people suffering and being made homeless due to universal credit. It needs to change.

Sparklesover a year ago

Why is it still 5 weeks? Why can’t it not be backdated? People will still be in debt so taking a week off dosent help people out of the debt cycle that is being created!

darshandhandaover a year ago

So they have bought it down by a week BUT guarantees that landlords MUST be patient to get the rent from the first week. Yes they want their monies but throwibg ppl out on their eye for reasons only the government/DWP can control. The masses need a break or all politicians need a break in their necks !!!! They have no clue as to how the masses suffer whilst in their second homes

dorey69over a year ago

My daughter ended up with £400 rent debt and the landlord would not wait. It was either find it or get evicted, she didn’t get advanced payment as they wanted half the UC back. She borrowed of different loan company just to keep her home. 😕

LisaSmith309over a year ago

OMG 8 DAYS BIG DEAL!! I am on ESA now and what a joke believe me I want to work!!! And they don't have a clue I have 2 kids jobcentre told me I'm on this benifets j claimed before the new change and they have put in new change I FONED them and they are telling me different and saying no sick notes omg what a lie my fone cut out and I couldn't fone back I am in a mess my kids going from me working to this all because when I was a baby hospital missed something I'm 36 and on morphine I just can't work my depression anxiety is threw roof I hate it and I have had 4 payments and my work mucked me about luring I had no money didn't wat to do when I found out my work sacked me on the second week I claimed ESA they told me if my work does they will deal with it and didn't all I asked was to move shift my mum died etc long story but money is tight from me working I have had to swollow my pride and ask for help I am attending few things now as I have to but I think I'm going to work I'll suffer but no one will take me on with meds I have and ok get so sore,meds do not help at all when I am so I'm no win situation I sleep better tho well all I want to these days I am strong always had to be but I'm in a way I've always been able to fight and I can't this time it horrible and job centre and ESA are saying I'm on different ESA don't have a clue and I'm going on this universal soon and I'm sick to stomach what are these people playing at how can they think a week making a difference tbh the money is a joke how the hell can we pay rent all that left with shit

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