The SSAC produces Occasional Papers to support the advice offered to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Committee’s remit.
This paper (May 2013) is a study by SSAC into the implementation of Universal Credit and the support needs of claimants. The report clarifies the risks that are specific to the delivery of Universal Credit and how these risks can best be managed so that claimants are able to access and sustain a claim. This study is intended to inform the preparations for the phased implementation of Universal Credit from April 2013.
Universal Credit will transform the way in which benefit claims and payments are made. It is reasonable to expect that a number of claimants will experience certain risks and vulnerabilities at some point during their claim to Universal Credit. This report clarifies the risks that are specific to the delivery of Universal Credit and how these risks can best be managed so that claimants are able to access and sustain a claim.
We found that the Department for Work and Pensions had begun to put in place a range of support for claimants with particular needs. We highlighted in particular the need for particular forms of support during the transition to Universal Credit, including personal budgeting support and the need for independent support and advice.
We made 11 recommendations to improve the ways in which risk and the vulnerability of claimants is managed under Universal Credit. These included a recommendation to do more to adequately identify the characteristics and circumstances that may put a claimant at risk and for these risks to be taken into account in the Claimant Commitment and the conditionality regime. We also recommended that more detail needed to be provided about the support services that will be available to claimants.