This is likely to be a very long blog and I make no apologies as this is important information we all need to get to grips with to survive.
Universal Credit (UC) is slowly being rolled out across the UK for some claimants , mainly single claimants and to be continued for couples. The legacy benefits that people are currently getting will eventually become Universal Credit,which runs a live programme (with gateway conditions) and a full rollout programme (no gateway conditions)alongside each other. Advisors will need to determine which is operating in their area and inform clients and explain in full their rights and eligibility. The fact that some will get hit hard is just the scratch on surface to the vile and brutal conditions of the health & work programme which is incorporated within it. ESA Claimants in WRAG (Work Related Activity Group) will lose the £30 a week inline with JSA for new claims while others migrating will get transitional protection until they have a change circumstances,or appeal, then they will lose it. If you have a change of circumstances at present on ESA in a UC area you will be put on UC and stay on it you wont be able to go back to your legacy benefit. For those on ESA it you will continue be assessed via WCA (Work Capability Assessment ) as you are now, but support group will be required to engage with claimant commitment to continue to receive payment according to UC documents. The specialist employment programmes are likely to be part of this commitment if the work coach feels the claimant could move closer to labour market. This will be done via Health & Work Conversation with a Work Coach.
Framework The claimant is supported in this regime by use of their Commitment. The claimant agrees their Commitment and is required to alert Universal Credit to any upcoming unemployment and changes of circumstance. The claimant can be sign posted to relevant support depending on their circumstances.
Claimants in this regime may still need or require some support in helping them to move closer to the labour market. If this applies, flexibility exists to sign post claimants to non-funded voluntary support. Consider existing voluntary options in the local area.
Support groups claimants will also be hit by losing SDP (Severe Disability Premium) which is currently £62.45 a week for single people and £124.90 for couples unless someone gets Carers Allowance to help you then the single rate will continue,providing you get middle or high rate care needs. Carers too will be affected if they care for a disabled person.
More cutsThe Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP) and Severe Disability Premium (SDP) currently give disabled people with high support needs £15.90 and £62.45 a week respectively. But under Universal Credit neither [pdf p3-4] payment exists. These, along with ESA and Income Support, will be replaced with the following payments under Universal Credit (NB: the amounts are for single people over the age of 25, without children and unable to work through ill health or disability):
- Standard allowance – £317.82 per calendar month (pcm), or £73.34 per week.
- Limited capability for work (only for claims started before 3 April 2017) – £126.11 pcm or £29.10 per week.
- Limited capability for work and work related activity – £318.76 pcm or £73.56 per week.So in total, people who claimed Universal Credit after April 2017, but were previously getting ESA support group rate (£109.65 per week), EDP and SDP, will be set to lose £41.10 a week – as they currently receive £188 a week versus £146.90 under Universal Credit. This means a loss of £2,137.20 a year. But the DWP claims there is a safety net.
If other benefits are received, this may impact on the Universal Credit award. Some benefits are ignored whereas other benefits have a pound for pound impact on the Universal Credit award.
Other benefits Universal Credit should not be paid to claimants with enough income available from other sources to support themselves. Exceptions are where payments are received in respect of additional costs which the claimant has, for example disability benefits.
Claimants who receive other benefits in addition to Universal Credit are subject to the relevant Universal Credit Labour Market regime based on their relevant Universal Credit legal conditionality group.
Other benefits taken fully into account The following benefits are taken fully into account when calculating Universal Credit payments: Bereavement Allowance Carer’s Allowance New style Employment and Support Allowance (contribution-based) Incapacity Benefit Severe Disablement Allowance Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit New style Jobseeker’s Allowance (contribution-based) Maternity Allowance State Pension Widowed Mother’s Allowance Widowed Parent’s Allowance Widow’s Pension
This means for each £1 received from these benefits, the Universal Credit payment is reduced by £1.
Any benefit, allowance or payment from a country outside the United Kingdom could also be taken fully into account, depending on the circumstances.
Pension Credit Universal Credit offers a signposting service for State Pension Credit (SPC).Claimants can find further information about SPC on Gov.UK. A benefit unit cannot be in receipt of both Pension Credit and Universal Credit. One of the basic conditions for getting Universal Credit is that a claimant must not be over the qualifying age for SPC.
This is called the Upper Age Limit.
Joint claim The Upper Age Limit doesn’t apply if the person over State Pension age is in a joint claim and their partner has not reached that age. Both adults are eligible for Universal Credit providing all other conditions of entitlement are met. The person over the SPC qualifying age is exempt from work conditionality and will be placed in the no work related requirements regime. Example: One adult in a couple is 57 and the other is 75. Both are able to claim Universal Credit together as a joint claim in the normal way.
Once Universal Credit Full Service is live nationally for all new claims, couples with only one person over the Pension Credit qualifying age will no longer be eligible for Pension Credit. This will ensure that the younger member of the couple has access to support to find work, if appropriate.
The person over the SPC qualifying age is exempt from work conditionality and will be placed in the no work related requirements regime.
So even some pensioners will be targeted as the above example illustrates. Also targeted are single parents .
This combined with the benefit cap now and the family cap (2 child Rule) from 2018, will also face cuts to housing benefits via LHA being reduced with those in private accommodation hit by a new Bedroom Tax and Supported Mortgage Interest being turned into a loan will hit virtually impacting on everyone especially those who are in work too and off sick. The latter will now face 4 wks fit note and then a assessment to determine eligibility to top up benefits to SSP, and subjected to claimant commitment conditions. Those in exceptional circumstances such as Domestic Violence, etc will get the opportunity to ask for alternative payments arrangements so they are not left penniless by abusive partners. Nobody will be deemed exempt it seems, from the vile clutches of this ‘monster’ created by the government and these things need to be urgently addressed and with Brexit around the corner and prices rising already the poorest will most likely be affected the most. There are even two regimes to get people into labour market depending on your given perceived status. one is Light Touch and the other is Intensive regimes. It is impossible to upload all documents which are many, but main ones are listed below as now is the time to plan ahead to help people understand how Universal Credit can affect you and your families understand the system to make sure you can understand what is expected of them.
One the many hideous things hidden in the Health and Work Programme is IAPT (CBT therapy) which will become compulsory as well as Troubled Families roll out, and targets to enforce therapy regimes on those who are obese, drink,drugs,smokers. Refusing to take part in this mandatory requirement you will cease to be entitled to Universal Credit.Those considered in debt and financially vulnerable will also be put forward to personal budgeting support advice where they will be judged and no doubt blamed for buying services that the nanny state deem expensive/unnecessary given the amount they have to live on. Health and Work Blog is linked below.
This Government has excelled itself in brutality towards claimants of social security,while convincing the populace of the UK that demonising the poorest is the acceptable norm and that they are fair game to be abused and they are not worthy as they are unable to contribute in same way a fit able bodied person , leading to further division. While this is not in depth Blog I have included relevant documents for download and uploaded a powerpoint to help people understand how they will be affected.
Anyone needing further advice can use the calculator link below to find out how they will be affected or seek proper advice locally and this blogger would urge people to check how you will be affected to prevent distress and income depravation.
UPDATES : More documents have been uploaded including the powerpoints below, Please also check out my blog on Dementia Tax , Cuts that will cut Deep blog also.
Further Updates Uploaded Documents (more to come yet watch this space!)