More than 1.5 million new claims to Universal Credit since lockdown introduced
MORE THAN 1.5 million new claims have been made to Universal Credit since the Government’s lockdown measures were introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Additional figures show that 3 million are already claiming Universal Credit.
People who made their claims when lockdown first began will receive payments from tomorrow, and in a letter to the Work and Pensions Select Committee, DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield has confirmed that at least 93% of people are forecast to receive their payments in full and on time. Where people haven’t been paid, it is often due to the claimant needing to provide information, such as a correct bank number, and staff will attempt to contact claimants to fill in any blanks.
The latest figures, released today, also show that in the four-week period to 12 April over 513,000 advances were paid to those urgently in need of money.
The number of claims since 16 March does not equate to an equivalent rise in unemployment, as Universal Credit provides a safety net not only for people out of work, but also for those on low wages and whose income may have been recently reduced.
Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey said:
“Universal Credit is providing vital support for all those who need it during the Covid-19 outbreak.
“The system has stood firm in the face of the unprecedented demand and our dedicated staff have gone above and beyond to help process more than 1.5 million new Universal Credit claims in just over a month.
“These are challenging times, but Universal Credit is providing a vital safety net to those affected by the pandemic and we’ve taken action by injecting over £6.5 billion to support people on the welfare system, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor.”
In response to Covid-19 the government has introduced a number of additional temporary support measures to help people during the pandemic.
- The Universal Credit standard allowance has been increased by £20 a week, meaning claimants are up to £1,040 a year better off. Part of a series of welfare measures for the current tax year worth £6.5 billion.
- Changes to local housing allowance rates mean payments now cover the 30th percentile of rents
- Claimants no longer have to call DWP to complete their claim – DWP is making routine outbound calls where information needs to be checked, meaning that people don’t have to spend time waiting on hold.
- All jobcentre appointments have been paused, with jobcentre staff redeployed to help process incoming benefit claims.
- A relaxation of earnings rules for self-employed Universal Credit claimants affected by the economic impacts of Covid-19.
- 10,000 more staff have been redeployed internally to help process claims and the department is recruiting for 5,000 more.
- More than 2,000 laptops have been distributed to staff who are self-isolating, allowing them to continue to work from home.
For the 6 weeks to 12 April 2020, the department has received over 1.5 million declarations to Universal Credit. The total confirmed number of people on Universal Credit up to March 12 is 3 million, an increase of 4% on the previous month.
Examples of what people will receive on Universal Credit
|Characteristics||Earnings last month||UC amount||Child Benefit||Total Income|
|Single person, no rent||£0||£409.89||£410|
|Single person, no rent||£500||£94.89||£595|
|Single person, rent £350||£0||£759.89||£760|
|Single person, rent £350||£500||£444.89||£945|
|Lone parent, 1 child, rent £500||£0||£1,191.14||£91.22||£1,282|
|Lone parent, 1 child, rent £500||£500||£1,060.10||£91.22||£1,651|
|Couple 1 child, rent £500||£0||£1,375.29||£91.22||£1,467|
|Couple 1 child, rent £500||£750||£1,086.75||£91.22||£1,928|
Please note these examples are illustrative, exact amounts people receive will depend on their personal circumstances. For more information about any aspect of Universal Credit, including how to make a claim, visit Understanding Universal Credit.