We are challenging policymakers to make sure Universal Credit enables people to live a life of dignity.
We are working with partner organisations, housing providers and decision-makers to lobby for a Universal Credit (UC) system that provides the income and support people need.
- Claimants should be able to choose whether they want to stay on legacy benefits (and reinstate the ESA Work-Related Activity Component) or move onto UC.
- DWP should ensure transitional protection for every claimant moving from legacy benefits to UC.
- Claimants should receive their first UC instalment within one week of the initial claim, not in the form of a loan, but as their first payment. This payment should be calculated as follows: a) for claimants in work, their last month’s earnings should constitute their assessed income for their first UC payment; b) for those out of work, their legacy benefits should be converted to UC.
- Local authorities should use the date of a claim for UC for the calculating of Council Tax Support.
- Claimants should be given the choice to make their claim bespoke to suit their individual needs, allowing them to decide how to handle their money. This should include all claimants being able to: set up MPTLs, decide how they manage their claim (digitally, via letters, face-to-face etc.), and choose how often they would like to be paid (for example, fortnightly).
- For joint claims, separate payments and individual online UC journals should be the default.
- People aged under 25 who have children should not be subject to the reduced under 25 UC rate.
- If DWP maladministration has occurred, or a wrong decision has been made, UC claimants should not have to pay for this. They should also be compensated if they have suffered financial loss as the result of any DWP maladministration, including delays in payment beyond the five week wait. DWP should also be more transparent about when they have made an error, and stop retrospectively editing their errors from peoples’ UC journals.
- Claimants should be exempt from claimant commitments when appealing a negative WCA decision, and receive an equivalent of the ESA appeal rate.
- DWP should ensure that people are adequately supported to live stable and dignified lives on UC, by removing the benefit cap and two child limit, increasing work allowances, and restoring UC rates to their true value so that they are proportional to the cost of living.
- Reinstate implicit consent.
Until these major reforms take place so that vulnerable people are protected, we believe that natural and managed migration of UC should be stopped.