UNIVERSAL CREDIT ( UC ) : Rollout Schedule * Mines * Sanctions * Changes * Delays * Reports From Affected Manors

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
206 posts
Oh dear ... that UC steamroller currently doing a tour of the UK ... back to the garage for a refit ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... g-families

Universal credit could be sunk by next stage of rollout, say experts.

Calls for further delays to fix flaws before million working families move on to benefit.

Failure to manage the critical next phase of universal credit, during which about a million low-income working families will be moved on to the benefit, could sink the controversial welfare programme altogether, experts have warned.

The Resolution Foundation says ministers should consider further delays to the rollout of the benefit so that design flaws can be fixed and further safeguards put in place to protect claimants from risks of financial hardship.

There is concern that universal credit could prove politically explosive for ministers when the large cohort of “just-about-managing” working families in receipt of tax credits are subjected to its well-documented problems with payment delays.

More than 2 million households – including about a million working families, as well as 750,000 disabled and ill claimants unable to work – will be transferred to universal credit under so-called “managed migration” over three years from next July.

Universal credit’s reputation, which has already been battered by long waits for payment, chaotic administration and processing errors that have left tens of thousands of claimants in debt, rent arrears and reliant on food banks, will be further undermined if the migration is botched, the Resolution Foundation says.

Administrative errors and delays can add on average an extra three weeks to the formal 35-day wait for an initial benefit payment. Many claimants have no savings and are unable to manage such a lengthy period without income.

Public trust in the benefit is now so weak that families were potentially being put off making claims in the first place, the thinktank argues, while the once-solid cross-party political support for the flagship policy is in danger of collapsing. Many private landlords have said they will no longer rent to people on universal credit.


“Get this final phase of the rollout right and it could help to reboot universal credit’s reputation, but get things wrong and UC’s reputation risks taking another battering, and worryingly some families could be put off claiming UC altogether,” said David Finch, former senior economic analyst and now senior research fellow at the thinktank.

Proposed cuts to tax credits for low income families triggered a substantial backbench Tory rebellion in 2015, while problems with universal credit provoked a similar revolt last year. The Resolution Foundation estimates that 1.8 million working families will see their incomes drop when they move onto the new system.

In a paper, it added: “Politicians in all parties have increasingly found cause to question the efficacy of persisting with the reform.”

The rollout timetable for universal credit, already six years behind schedule, should be extended further to ensure migration is a success, the thinktank says. There should be no mass transfer of claimants until it is clear the system can accommodate them and that problems with payment delays have been fixed.

Campaigners fear that the abrupt nature of the migration – claimants will be sent a letter giving them three months to apply for universal credit before their current benefits are cancelled – will see many vulnerable people fall out of the benefits system.

The Department for Work and Pensions said: “Universal credit is a flexible and responsive benefit, providing claimants with personal support and helping to get them into work faster and stay in work longer.

“As we continue rollout we are focused on ensuring a smooth transition with uninterrupted support for claimants, including those migrating from legacy benefits.

“We continue to listen to feedback and make any necessary improvements during the rollout with our ‘test and learn’ approach. And research shows that the vast majority of people receiving universal credit are satisfied with the service they receive.”


One has to smile.

The problems have been well documented on this thread.

And still the grand tour goes ahead.
Just a headline ... rest of the article a summary of what's been posted earlier :

Universal credit: one in six not paid on time, cabinet papers reveal.

Figures emerge as archbishop of Canterbury calls for benefit system rollout to be stopped.


Locally , quite some time with local letting agents and the problem with the reluctance of local landords taking on tenants ... especially fluctuating income ones ... many zero hour contracts around ... caught by UC.

Only to be expected , and repeated on other manors as the reality of UC rolls out.
Ground zero .... the self employed ... and their welcome to UC :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... nds-a-year


Universal credit " Costs the self-employed thousands of pounds a year. "

Businesses, unions and charities warn the rules are biased against those setting up their own companies.

A coalition of businesses, unions and charities is demanding a rethink of the government’s welfare reforms, warning they will damage entrepreneurship and cost some self-employed people thousands of pounds a year.

Concerns have already been raised about the potential impact of universal credit on the self-employed, with analysts saying the system is biased against those who set up their own companies. Someone who is self-employed can receive up to £2,500 less than an employee with the same earnings.

With the budget approaching, Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, is facing demands for an overhaul of the rules. In a letter to her, the coalition says the current system is skewed against the 4.8 million people who work for themselves. The Federation of Small Businesses, the Royal Society of Arts, the National Farmers’ Union, the Trussell Trust food bank charity and the Gingerbread charity for single parents are among the groups to sign the letter.


“As things stand, a self-employed person can receive thousands of pounds less in universal credit payments each year compared to an employee earning exactly the same amount,” they write. “We believe there are steps that can be taken to ensure the system adequately supports the self-employed and promotes entrepreneurship.

“The self-employed deserve to be treated fairly by our social security system. To continue maintaining record levels of employment and promote entrepreneurship, the design of universal credit for the self-employed must be reviewed urgently.”


The issue arose as a result of a feature called the “minimum income floor” – an assumed level of earnings which is used to calculate universal credit payments for the self-employed, but not employees. After a one-year grace period, self-employed people have to meet the floor before they become entitled to universal credit.

However, many self-employed workers have said they will be penalised because they do not receive a regular and steady income that would satisfy the minimum income floor rules – meaning they will lose out. The coalition warns that a sole trader earning £12,000 a year can receive £2,500 less each year through universal credit than an employee earning the same amount.

Problems in the system are likely to worsen as universal credit is rolled out further, with 700,000 self-employed people expected to be claiming it by 2022.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said the system was designed to reflect the way most people are paid. “We recognise the importance of entrepreneurship in boosting the economy, however it’s unfair for taxpayers to prop up unviable businesses,” she said. “If after a year, gainfully self-employed people aren’t earning the minimum wage from their business, they’ll be asked to increase their earnings or take on additional employment.”


Universal credit has already had to be overhauled because claimants were waiting up to six weeks for their first payment, with many falling into rent arrears. There are calls for its rollout to be frozen.

Last week, it emerged that the government’s own assessment of universal credit suggested there was no evidence that punishing part-time claimants for failing to find more work was encouraging them to increase their hours.

One of the key claims by those who backed universal credit was that it would increase the working hours of those receiving it. The threat of financial sanctions is used to force claimants to boost their hours. However, a three-year trial found that while the threat of sanctions ensured that claimants followed the rules set by Job Centre staff, “there was no evidence that it helped motivate participants to progress in work”.

The trial also showed that those who had to undertake frequent compulsory activity, designed to boost their wages, only increased their weekly earnings by £5 more than those who had the most minimal requirements.


Furthermore, the published figures do not take account of the gradual withdrawal of benefits as people increase their earnings, meaning the actual boost to claimants’ incomes during the trial is likely to have been lower than reported.


Major mines for anyone self employed were posted earlier in this thread.

A classic case of fitting people into a Policy rather than said Policy fitting the people.

Again , the authors of UC did not do their homework ... shades of the Care Act ... and this is the result.

Problems ... not solutions ... and thousands are worse off.
Just a headline ... plenty of prior postings point out the mines and ambiguities within UC :

Self-employed 'up to £3,000 worse off each year' under universal credit.

Welfare reform is most damaging for self-employed because it does not take into account income varies 'hugely' from month to month, ministers warned.


The following snippet from the article is straight at the throat :

The latest warnings come after ministers were accused of presiding over a catalogue of errors in universal credit. A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found the new benefit was failing to deliver value for money and is pushing claimants into further financial difficulties.

The research also found that universal credit may cost more than the social security system it replaces – and warned there was no way of measuring whether it will meet its economic aim of getting 200,000 more people into work.
Ground zero ... York ... for a couple , the REAL realities of UC ;

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/un ... -1-9363251

Universal Credit : The York publicans who had to live in a tent by the River Ouse.


Image
For Tony Carson and his fiancée Sue Rimington, they were enjoying a comfortable life while living and working at a pub.

But after they left that business, their next move fell through and they found themselves out of work and homeless, and went on to Universal Credit.

They initially moved into a council-run hostel in York, but struggled to keep up with the rent there, partly because of UC being paid monthly.

The couple then had to leave the hostel in August as they had been sleeping there on alternate nights.

Dogs were also banned from the facility, and when Tony and Sue’s dog-sitting arrangement fell through, they and their pet Buster moved into a tent beside the River Ouse for several weeks.

They are now housed again, but speaking at the time of their homelessness, Mr Carson said: “Universal Credit does not work, and it’s the fault of the system.

“It doesn’t help you get back on your feet, it traps you.

“The staff at the York Jobcentre have been helpful but they have to fulfil their duties and the system does not work.

“We receive Universal Credit of £465 a month. The DWP also pay towards housing costs, but their assessment for two people in a single property in York is £430 a month and you cannot get anywhere in York for that.

“The rent in the hostel is £128 a week plus £35 amenity charges.

“So we get £465 a month of Universal Credit and from that we have to pay £98 a month to top-up our rent at the homeless hostel and £160 a month in amenity charges, so we’ve only a few pounds a day left for everything else.

“In the middle of August, we had £23 to last us 11 days until our next Universal Credit payment and we had to buy washing powder and gas for the camp stove.”

Mr Carson added: “I managed to get some work one month, so they took 63p in the pound out of the Universal Credit and our payment that month was £253 – but then they assumed we were getting that income again the next month, when we weren’t, so we were short until they resolved it.

“They also expect the system to operate entirely online but if you are homeless you can’t charge your phone up whenever you want, you often can’t afford to call someone, and if they send a message to you and you don’t receive it, then straight away you’re under threat of being sanctioned.

“The idea of Universal Credit as a one-size-fits-all system is a nonsense.

“It needs more flexibility built into it. It needs to allow for people’s circumstances.”


How many hundreds of thousands of other experiences could be posted ?
Ground zero ... North Yorkshire coast ... Whitby and Scarborough areas :

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/un ... -1-9370582

Universal Credit could add to 'toxic mix' of economic issues in Scarborough and Whitby, historian warns.

Concern is mounting across Yorkshire’s coast about the roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) as traditional seaside towns continue to grapple with a “toxic mix” of low incomes, job insecurity and transport woes, according to a historian.

Gill Cookson, who lives in the Upper Esk Valley, is concerned the Government’s flagship benefit could worsen economic conditions in the Scarborough district and beyond.

Dr Cookson, chairwoman of the Labour Party group for Scarborough and Whitby and an economic historian, thinks self-employed people claiming Working Tax Credit could run into trouble as the benefit moves over to UC up to 2023.

Under the new benefit, there is a Minimum Income Floor – an assumed level of earnings. Imposed on self-employed claimants after 12 months of trading and aimed at calculating their reward, critics say it could negatively impact those whose trade fluctuates, as it is known to do in coastal towns dependant on seasonal custom.

Added to this is Scarborough being dubbed the “low pay capital of Britain” after a Social Mobility Commission report last year.

In 2016, the average salary was just £19,925, compared with a national average of £28,442, according to the annual survey of hours and pay carried out by the Office for National Statistics.

And while there are 40,400 jobs in the Scarborough Borough Council area (including the North York Moors National Park but excluding the self-employed and farming), almost a quarter of those jobs are in tourism and associated sectors, while fishing is in decline, according to Labour locally.

Dr Cookson said: “One of the things in this constituency, small businesses are very, very important to the economy in this area, so I wonder how many people will hit this issue of Universal Credit as it affects the self-employed.”

And on those who are unemployed and looking for a job while claiming UC, she added: “If anybody’s looking for work, they might need to move but those things are very difficult when people have families, responsibilities and caring responsibilities.

“There are parallel universes living in Scarborough. It’s the haves and the have-nots. People have really very, very little.

She added: “Anybody sensible looking at how Universal Credit has been rolled out would say it’s been a disaster, adding: “It’s awful, and I think they really should just halt it.”

Department of Work and Pensions representatives this week said Claimant Commitment contracts under UC are “extremely tailored” to a person’s specific circumstances, but some have criticised their inflexibility.

And there are worries in coastal areas that public transport is not good enough to get claimants to meetings on time, or get to work if it found, which could potentially lead to sanctions.


Using the Esk Valley as an example, Mrs Cookson said: “If you need a bottle of milk or a newspaper, it would be about a 20-mile round trip. We are a long way from any facilities at all.” She also said there is “a toxic mix of relatively expensive housing, low pay, insecure employment, [and] trouble communicating where you can’t get between one place and another.

“It’s not like the image a lot of people have of Scarborough and Whitby.”

UC is driving increased food bank use on the coast, it has also been suggested.

Nearly 800 people in Scarborough and Whitby had been moved onto the new monthly benefit and many were struggling with the online element of the scheme, councillors were told last month.


The claims were made by Scarborough Borough Council cabinet member Coun Sandra Turner (Conservative).

Coun Turner, who has the Communities portfolio on the authority’s cabinet, said in a report that many were also struggling to pay their rent due to how the benefit is paid, which is monthyl and in arrears.

She added that the Rainbow Centre, a charity which helps disadvantaged people in the town, had seen a sharp rise in people attending since UC was introduced earlier this year.


UC is replacing six existing benefits, including Housing Benefit, Income Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The DWP says it provides an incentive to find a job because benefit pay reduces as a claimant’s hours at work rise.


The UC steamroller continues on it's Uk wide tour ... leaving social devastation in it's wake.
Better late than never ?
DWP to pay Citizens Advice £51 million to help with universal credit.


From April 2019 Citizens Advice (CA) and Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) will receive a total of £51 million to help claimants with universal credit claims, the DWP has announced today.

The DWP says that CA and CAS will be able to support claimants through every step of making a UC claim and managing their money when it arrives. The main focus will be on budgeting advice and digital support.

The help will be provided via the Universal Support scheme which is currently administered by individual local authorities with grants provided by the DWP.


£12 million is being provided to CA and CAS to set up the service by April 2019, with a further £39 million being paid from April onwards.

The funding may raise concerns about the ability of CA and CAS to campaign in relation to the failings of UC.

Back in April Disability News Service revealed that charities that sign up to help deliver the government’s new Work and Health Programme have to agree to “pay the utmost regard to the standing and reputation” of DWP and must do nothing that brings the DWP into disrepute or which “damages the reputation of the Contracting Body or harms the confidence of the public in the Contracting Body”.

The contract defines the “Contracting Body” as the work and pensions secretary, a position currently occupied by the much-criticised Esther McVey.

The DWP says it has been inserting this clause in its contracts since 2015.

It is not known if the Universal Support contract includes such a clause.
Main article under the main FOODBANKS thread :

Food bank use will soar after universal credit rollout, warns charity.

Trussell Trust calls for urgent changes to policy of moving 3m people on to new system.


When it comes to The Street , the number source for virtually anything is now Trussells.
John McDonnell says universal credit needs to be scrapped.

Shadow chancellor’s remarks follow warnings millions of families could lose £200 a month under reformed system.


According to weekend reports, Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary, recently briefed cabinet colleagues that half of single parents and about two-thirds of working-age couples with children would lose the equivalent of £2,400 a year.

McDonnell said: “We’ve looked and looked, we can’t see that either government’s or other proposals could reform it. It’s in shambles, and it’s actually iniquitous as well. To have government ministers being privately briefed that families are going to lose £200 a month, it’s just not acceptable.”



Well John ... to save yourself a few bob ... our now a decade old " Social Wage " is available ... a cure of all those unable to work ... at a price of ... let's say ... 10% of that £ 132 BILLION ? "

Within a year , millions will be able to benefit from the BIG TWO ... to eat and to heat without having the choice.

What price would you put on that choice ???
Earlier, McDonnell had said a “root and branch examination of how we can go forward” was required and “the principle of bringing together benefits in one so it’s a much simpler system is something we all support, but this hasn’t done that”.


In comparison , the Social Wage :

Firstly , anyone not agree that the current benefit system needs replacing to reflect our changed needs ?

Good , let me introduce the concept of the Social Wage.

Who for ?

The elderly , the disabled ( higher rate DLA & AA ) and their carers.

What would it replace ?

State Pension \ DLA \ AA \ Carers Allowance \ Income support \ Carers Premium & any others directly related.

Level of Social Wage ?

Benchmark = Average wage ( Official figures ).

A percentage of the average wage , rising with average earnings. The politics involved will be the actual percentage applied. Try 50% as a starter , an additional 20% if any claimant fell under more than one category , per category , Dugsie for instance ?

Assume AW is £ 450 per week , and % is set at 30% ...... that give's all recipients £ 135 per week ..... additional 10% ...... additional £ 45 per week ..... for example , elderly and a Carer = £ 180. Play around with the % to your heart's content ....... if implemented , the % level is the ONLY political decision.

Carer or elderly or disabled ........................................ £ 135

Carer and elderly or disabled ...................................... £ 180

Carer and elderly and disabled .................................... £ 225

Swap carer / elderly / disabled around ... same figures ... no smoke and mirrors !

Simples ?

Benefit ?

A long last , a simple system which , is not only fair , but instantly removes the stigma of claiming benefits in the first place , and ensures that monies go to the claimant rather than dangled in front of them ( eg. current take up of benefits ).

How funded ?

Variety of ways open , I leave that to the economists amongst posters BUT don't shoot down the concept because , on initial calculations , too costly. Try NI contributions towards a Social Wage ... the initial concept of NI is , perhaps , 40 years past it's sell by date ?

Initial soundings across carer / disability forums have been favourable , how about the politicos and others on this Forum ?

You never know , it could be a real vote winner !



Must update those figures to more realistic levels ???
As the UC steamroller continues on it's journey , the number of articles also increases :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... re-thought

Universal credit plan needs more thought.

Organisations supporting people and families on a low income are concerned that benefit changes will push vulnerable people further into poverty.

Guardian readers will be familiar with the difficulties many of our most vulnerable citizens are experiencing from the introduction of universal credit, the government’s new “all-in-one” social security benefit for people who are in and out of work.

From January 2019, universal credit will be scaled up to reach millions more households through a process described as “managed migration”. This process will allow for existing social security support to be terminated, with individuals bearing the responsibility for making a successful new universal credit claim within a fixed period of time.

One in five claims to universal credit currently fail because claimants find the process too complex. Based on this rate, about 400,000 households could see their universal credit claim fall through and be left without essential support. Some will then have no income whatsoever.

Organisations supporting people and families on a low income are gravely concerned that universal credit is not yet working well enough to be implemented on the scale envisaged, and also that the government’s proposed approach will risk pushing vulnerable people further into poverty. Before thousands more families move on to universal credit, the government must ensure that ongoing problems with the system are addressed and that households can be moved over without a gap in their income.


Alison Garnham Chief executive, Child Poverty Action Group
Mike Cherry National chairman, Federation of Small Businesses
Paul Farmer Chief executive, Mind
Trish Pickford Head of welfare, Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution
Paul Noblet Head of public affairs, Centrepoint
Sophie Castell Director of relationships, RNIB
Katie Ghose Chief executive, Women’s Aid Federation of England
Polly Neate Chief executive, Shelter
Rick Henderson Chief executive, Homeless Link
Amanda Batten Chief Executive, Contact, the charity for disabled children
Emma Revie Chief Executive, The Trussell Trust
Bea Orchard Head of policy, campaigns and research, St Mungo’s


• It has been my misfortune to have been unemployed for some months, during which time I have witnessed the blatant failures of the current assessment system used by theDepartment of Work and Pensions in relation to those who are the most needy in our society. I myself am not hungry or indeed homeless but for the generosity of acquaintances.

I have witnessed mothers of young children being turned away from jobcentres without the wherewithal to feed or clothe their families, because they do not meet hitherto unknown criteria or lack a document.

The lack of compassion shown by staff is disgraceful, as is their superior attitude. To use a cliche, you would think it was their own money.

I have worked for over 40 years, paid my dues etc, but am horrified by the way we treat the disadvantaged in our society. Of course we should ensure that our finances are distributed fairly but I cannot accept that children being hungry and disadvantaged in 2018 is any way acceptable.

I regret that over the next few months, as more people are transferred to this system, much more suffering will be forced on to those who are least able to cope, and the suffering caused is inexcusable.
Jonathan P Sykes
Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire


Despite all and sundry demanding a halt , that UC steamroller continue to reek havoc everywhere in it's path.

As per usual , those that devised the Scheme never need to use it themselves.
206 posts