Press release

Vulnerable claimants will get support they need under Universal Credit, Ministers tell select committee

Ministers reiterated their commitment to supporting vulnerable claimants in their response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Report.

Ministers reiterated their commitment to supporting vulnerable claimants in their response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee Report into Universal Credit today. At the same time they revealed that over one million households will get to keep more of their earnings from work than they do under the current system.

Responding to the committee’s report - which welcomed the principles of Universal Credit - Ministers outlined how claimants with complex needs will be supported with the move to Universal Credit, and how they will be better off under the new benefit. 1.1 million claimants taking up 10 hours of work a week will keep more of their earnings than they do in the current system - a clear incentive for people to take up and remain in work.

The Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said:

We’ve always been clear that Universal Credit will be simple and easy for claimants to access and we will ensure that vulnerable people get the support they need to make a claim and budget their finances.

Millions of people will be better off on the new benefit, and we are pleased the select committee supports the principles of Universal Credit and welcome the work they have done.

The response outlines that:

  • Work is the best route out of poverty and those who can will be supported into work. Universal Credit will ensure that moving off benefits into work and increasing hours will pay.
  • Ministers see Universal Credit as an opportunity to tackle digital exclusion and equip claimants with IT skills to help them get jobs. The majority of claims will be made online. However, telephone and one-to-one support will be made available to those who can’t access their claims online.

No one will lose financially through the transition to Universal Credit where their circumstances remain the same.

  • To ease the transition into work and to encourage claimants to become work ready, Universal Credit will be paid monthly and housing costs will be paid direct to claimants. Those who need it will receive budgeting help and for a minority where direct or monthly payments may not be appropriate, Jobcentre Plus advisers will have discretion to make alternative arrangements. Support will also be in place to protect the financial position of landlords.
  • The Department will continue to work with other departments and devolved administrations on how they operate passported benefits.

Notes to Editors:

  • Written Ministerial Statement
  • Universal Credit will be rolled out from October 2013 with approximately 12 to 13 million tax credit and benefit claims transformed into eight million Universal Credit payments.
  • Universal Credit will be paid monthly allowing a smoother transition from benefits to work and will be paid as a single household payment.
  • Universal Credit will replace income-based JSA, income-related ESA, Income Support (including SMI), Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits and Housing Benefit

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