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Carers UK Forum • UNIVERSAL CREDIT ( UC ) : Rollout Schedule * Mines * Sanctions * Changes * Delays * Reports From Infected Manors - Page 6
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Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Receiving Less / Poverty

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:54 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Likely impact on us when UC hit's your manor ?

From the Benefits Beware site ... a brief guide :

http://benefitsaware.centralenglandlc.o ... or-carers/

Universal Credit and Changes for Carers

Universal Credit makes a number of changes to the benefits paid to working age carers. The information given here applies for people who are already claiming benefits as a carer and explains the changes they can expect to happen. More information about the current benefits system is available from Carers UK

For information about changes to the benefits that are paid to the disabled person you are caring for you should refer to other sections of this website.

Carers and claims for Universal Credit

Carers are outside the group of people who are able to claim Universal Credit at present. It is important that you mention that you are a carer when making any enquiries about benefits to prevent the possibility of being incorrectly transferred on to Universal Credit. This means that, unless you become a carer after you have made a claim for Universal Credit, you will continue to claim your current benefits combination. After Universal Credit goes live in your area you may be transferred on to Universal Credit if you need to make a new claim for a means tested benefit after this date. Universal Credit is due to move to full roll our from November 2017 in Birmingham and from April 2018 in Coventry. It is important to check that you have claimed all of your entitlements to means tested benefits before full roll out starts in your area to reduce the risk of an early transfer on to Universal Credit. If you are not sure that you are claiming your full benefit entitlement see our Where to Get Advice page

Carers who get Carers Allowance only

Carers who are receiving only Carers Allowance will not experience any benefit changes. The current rate of Carers Allowance is £62.70 per week. Most benefits paid for people who are under pension age are frozen. Depending on what other sources of income are available this may mean that some carers will need to consider possible claims to means-tested benefits. For more information on this seek advice.

Carers who receive means-tested benefits like Income support, Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, and Housing Benefit

Carers on these benefits will continue to receive their current benefit until they are transferred on to Universal Credit. Universal Credit will replace all the main means-tested benefits for people of working age including Housing Benefit. If there are no new claims made for any of these benefits claimants will remain on the current benefit system until the start of managed migration which is currently scheduled to start in July 2019. At the point of transfer there will be no income reduction so the level of benefit paid will either increase or stay at the same rate due to Transitional Protection rules. There are some additional issues for carers who also receive Employment and Support Allowance which are dealt with below.

There are some changes to the qualification tests for payment of Carer Element (the replacement for Carers Premium). It is not necessary to have an entitlement to Carers Allowance to become entitled to the Carer Element. The test for entitlement to the Carer Element is that you are caring for a severely disabled person for at least 35 hours per week there is no earnings limit as there is for Carers Allowance which has a current earnings limit of £116 per week. This means that some people who could not claim Carers Allowance or Carers Premiums will be able to claim a Carer Element under Universal Credit.
What Happens to Universal Credit if the cared for person dies?

The Universal Credit rules are also slightly different if the cared for person dies.

Under the current means-tested benefits the Carers Premium continues in payment for 8 weeks from the Sunday following the death (or the date of death if this occurs on a Sunday). When you are transferred on to Universal Credit the Carer Element will continue to be paid for the rest of the month when the death occurs and for the two following months. If the cared for person was a partner or a dependent child then the overall Universal Credit will continue for the same period and will not be reduced.
Carers who receive Income Related Employment and Support Allowance

Carers on Income Related Employment and Support Allowance will continue to receive their current benefit until they are transferred on to Universal Credit. Carers who are also too ill to work are treated differently under Universal Credit as Universal Credit rules prevent cannot claim both the Carer Element and the Limited Capability for Work or Limited Capability for Work Related Activity Element. Under Universal Credit you get whatever is the highest amount. The monthly rates for these three additions are

Carer Element £151.89

Limited Capability for Work £126.11

Limited Capability for Work Related Activity £318.76

This means that if you are a carer who also has limited capability for work (this is the equivalent to the current work related activity group) you will receive the carer element of £151.89 as this is higher. If you are a carer who also has an entitlement to limited capability for work related activity (which is equivalent to the current support group) you will receive the limited capability for work related activity rate as this is higher.

For many carers who are also too ill to work it is likely that this change will represent a reduction in their benefit rate when they are transferred on to Universal Credit so, as you should not lose out financially when you are transferred on to Universal Credit you will continue to get the previous benefit rate which will be frozen until the new rate of Universal Credit catches up with it. More information about this is available in the Universal Credit Transitional Protection article.
Carers and the Universal Credit Claimant commitment

Most people who claim Universal Credit will be expected to look for work in order to claim Universal Credit. However it has been accepted that carers who look after one or more disabled people for at least 35 hours per week do not need to do this. As separate conditions attach to each adult claimant in a couple it is possible that the carer’s partner will have to look for work. More information about this is available in the article about Your Responsibilities if you get Universal Credit.

As can be deducted from the above ... there are subtle changes and differences.

No doubt , our Advice Team will be busy ... in more ways than one ?

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:20 am
by Chris From The Gulag
A report from one ground zero ... Banbury , Oxfordshire ... pleasant backwater , blue rose growing , even a few butlers / servants around , type manor ... their CAB towards the end :

http://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/news/b ... -1-8227988

Be prepared for Universal Credit rollout in Cherwell district this month.

This month sees the introduction of Universal Credit to Banbury residents who are claiming any of six benefits it replaces.

It comes as part of a nationwide roll-out which will see all regions adopt the new ‘one size fits all’ benefit by 2022, a full five years later than originally planned. Cherwell will introduce Universal Credit on November 22.

It has come under heavy criticism since its introduction for a number of different reasons, most notably the long wait of six weeks or more, the premium rate phone number people had to call to apply or receive assistance (which has now been scrapped for a free phone number) and the once a month payment as opposed to the traditional fortnightly payment of Job Seekers Allowance.

The six benefits the new Universal Credit replaces are Child Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Working Tax Credit.

The idea for a universal benefit was first proposed in 2010 by the then Work and Pensions Minister, Iain Duncan Smith at the Conservative Party Conference and later became part of the wider Welfare Reform Act 2012.

It was first implemented in 2013 and, at least on paper, seemed to be a worthy concept with two main objectives. First it would simplify the complex benefits system by becoming a one stop shop.

Secondly it was designed to incentivise people into work as it would be more flexible and able to adapt to other income streams.

The reality, however, has seen the implementation of Universal Credit across the UK fraught with problems with some calling for its roll-out to be halted.

Currently there is an open Commons Select Committee inquiry on the roll-out of the benefit calling for evidence to support policy change.

Evidence submitted by the Halton Housing Trust prompted parliamentary select committee chairman Rt Hon Frank Field MP to say: “It would be difficult to think, in all my period of Chair of the Select Committee, of a piece of evidence that is so damning on the DWP maladministration which is mangling poorer people’s lives.

“This maladministration is throwing Universal Credit claimants’ finances into chaos.”

Cherwell District Council, which will be responsible for the benefits implementation, did not respond to emails requesting a statement on Universal Credit. If you wish to find out more visit the government’s website at www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Councillor and MP react to the change

Not surprisingly Universal Credit has polarised political debate.

Here are the views two of Banbury’s leading figures.

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis (Conservative) said: “Universal Credit has been introduced to update the current benefits system which is complex and confusing.

“It replaces six different payments and six different application processes with one single combined payment. The new benefit is now being rolled out after a period of testing in pilot areas.

“Claimants in some parts of the country have been receiving Universal Credit for over four years now, allowing the Department of Work and Pensions to identify, and respond to, a range of issues.

“Given the scale of reform, I accept that it will take time to get used to but I do think we need to see it in action in our area before coming to any conclusions.

She added: “I will be monitoring all developments closely; if anyone has any questions or concerns about their own Universal Credit application, or can give feedback for me to pass on to Ministers, they should get in touch with my office on victoria.prentis.mp@parliament.uk.”

Cllr Sean Woodcock, leader of the Labour Group, said: “The principles underpinning Universal Credit are difficult to argue; a simple and cost-effective system, cutting the welfare bill and making work pay. But it has failed on every one.

“It was meant to be fully in place by the end of 2017 and won’t be, and a system originally estimated at £2bn, will cost £12bn.

“The country’s benefit bill keeps rising because of the amount of money paid out to private landlords because of ever-increasing rents.

He added: “The roll-out is fatally flawed and should be paused until the systemic errors in it can be ironed out.”

Help on hand from Citizens Advice

Across the country Citizens Advice has been inundated with people having issues with Universal Credit – helping with 100,000 problems since it was introduced.

North Oxfordshire and South Northants branch chief executive Pat Wood is concerned people in Cherwell may be caught cold when it arrives later this month.

“In principle, Universal Credit is a good idea as it means people manage their money better and more responsibly, while simplifying the benefit system. However evidence shows a lot of people are struggling as they haven’t prepared for it and the six-week waiting period is a challenge,” she said.

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice nationally, joined the recent calls for the six-week wait to be reduced.

Ms Wood said the wait can be tough for people who are not ready.

“Six weeks is a long time to wait for income and asking people who are on legacy benefits, or used to fortnightly payments, to move to a new way of managing their money or with no preparation, they may find themselves in a situation where they can’t afford to eat or heat their homes. Then they seek to borrow money and get into expensive loans and spiral into debt,” she said.

Ms Wood said claimants also struggle with the change from being paid twice a month to every four weeks.

Citizens Advice wants people to be prepared for the rollout and there are a number of things people can do.

Ms Wood wanted to stress that claimants can ask for an advance payment to get through the six-week wait, and people can arrange to be paid more often in the short term.

There are people who will find trouble with the application,if you cannot access the website for example – and Ms Wood encouraged them to visit Citizens Advice who will help the best it can.

“There are people who will fall through the cracks and we want to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she said.

Loads of ways to find out more

There are a number of ways to find out more about Universal Credit and the forthcoming rollout across Cherwell district.

Whether you want to check to see if you will be affected, or to get help or quell some fears about the new system, Citizens Advice is available in many ways.

You can either visit the website, www.citizensadvice.org.uk, call 03444 111 444, or drop in to one of the centres in Banbury, Bicester, Kidlington and Brackley. The Banbury centre’s address is 26 Cornhill, Banbury, OX16 5NG.

Cherwell District Council is also on hand for anyone with concerns. Call 01295 227002 or email benefits@cherwell-dc.gov.uk.

There is also help available on the government website, which has all the information you need about the changes, at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

If " Middle England " is expecting trouble , what of those manors struggling even before the UC steamroller hits 'em ???

More articles will follow ... as night follows day.


Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:39 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
At last , what appears to be GOOD news :

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... be-reduced

Six-week wait for universal credit set to be reduced.

Government preparing to trim wait for new benefit after Tory backbenchers raised concerns about impact on constituents.

The government is preparing to confirm that it will cut the six-week waiting time for universal credit, caving in to Conservative backbench rebels.

After being promised concessions by ministers, a group of Tory MPs concerned about the impact of the delay on their constituents were persuaded not to vote against the government in a Labour-led debate on universal credit last month.

The six-week wait was the central concern of the group, which includes Heidi Allen and Johnny Mercer, and the government is expected to reduce it, most likely by eliminating the seven-day mandatory waiting time at the start of any new claim.

The move comes as MPs prepare to vote on a cross-party motion to cut the wait for a first payment from 42 days to a month. The backbench business debate in the House of Commons on Thursday will focus on the recommendations of the recent work and pensions committee inquiry report on universal credit.

The committee chair, Frank Field, warned that a government defeat would send a clear message to ministers that the long wait had to go: “Universal credit’s design and implementation have been beset with difficulties that knock claimants into hunger, debt and homelessness, but the most glaring of these in the first instance is the six-week wait for payment.

“I doubt many households in this country could get by for six weeks, and for many, much longer, with no income, never mind those striving close to the breadline. The baked-in wait for payment is cruel and unrealistic and government has not been able to offer any proper justification for it.”

Last month, a committee report described the 42-day wait as a “major obstacle” to the policy’s success. It found the delay caused claimants to run up debts and/or turn to foodbanks. “Most low-income families simply do not have the savings to see them through such an extended period,” it said.

The Resolution Foundation has estimated that cutting the waiting time to four weeks would cost the government £150m-£200m a year. It is unclear where the Treasury would find the money.

The thinktank said in a recent report: “The foundation recommends shortening waits considerably by scrapping the current seven-day waiting period and compressing payment processing days to ensure payments happen a week and a half earlier.”

The government is unlikely to go lower than four weeks because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) uses one month’s of earnings data to calculate recipients’ entitlements. The universal credit system uses monthly payments as part of its aim to mimic earnings.

A government source told Sky News that a concession on the waiting time would come early next week, as Philip Hammond, the chancellor, prepares to deliver the budget on Wednesday.

Universal credit, which combines six benefits, is being progressively rolled out across the country. It is meant to improve work incentives, but has been made significantly less generous since it was first designed, as the Treasury seeks to cut the welfare bill.

Hammond has stressed to cabinet colleagues that there is little cash to spare to cushion the blow of the new system, but his focus on balancing the books is frustrating fellow Tory MPs, who are concerned about the electoral impact of continued austerity.

A Treasury spokesman refused to comment on reports that the budget would soften the universal credit regime.

The employment minister Damian Hinds said: “I won’t be commenting on budget speculation, but we have made clear that no one has to wait for six weeks before they get their first full payment because they can get an advance, which is interest-free and recovered over six months.

“We have always said that we are continually looking to improve the system and the bottom line is that universal credit is working and getting more people into work.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has repeatedly made universal credit his focus at prime minister’s questions, and Labour held an opposition day debate on the issue last month in an attempt to expose Conservative divisions and draw attention to concerns about the system.

The DWP recently announced that charges for calling the universal credit helpline would be scrapped, after Corbyn complained that it was costing up to 55p a minute.

The proposed shortening of the waiting time was welcomed by anti-poverty charities and thinktanks, although there were concerns that four weeks was still too long for low-income claimants to wait, and more needed to be done to restore the benefit’s flagging credibility.

David Finch, a senior economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Questions remain over how long the wait will be reduced by, and whether more flexibility can be built into the system, given that three in five new claimants moving out of work are paid either weekly or fortnightly.

“Today’s move should signal the start of far wider reform to universal credit to make it fit for purpose, and help it deliver on its huge potential.”

Recent research by Peabody housing association estimated that the 42-day wait would result in more than 20,000 low-income families having no income this Christmas. It called for the period to be cut to two weeks.

There are concerns that design and administration changes alone will not mitigate the impact of universal credit on families. The Resolution Foundation has said cuts to the generosity of universal credit will leave 1 million working households an average of £2,800 a year worse off by 2022.

Quite a bit highlighted in bold ?

Reduction of 7 days / 1 week welcomed ... excluding public holidays ... but still horrendous problems for many.

One eye always open on this issue ... probably two inside 6 months !

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:03 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Joseph Rowntree Foundation ... no strangers to these forums ... and others over the past 13 years :

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 57526.html

Universal Credit cuts will hit women, ethnic minorities and poor families the most, say researchers.

'Next week’s budget is an opportunity to help struggling families,' says Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Low income families will be worse off because of cuts to Universal Credit despite tax changes and a higher living wage, a new report has warned.

Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that by 2022, families with one working parent will lose more from cuts to the benefits system than they gain from increases to the living wage.

Single people without children and a hypothetical family of four with two working parents will be better off, the research by Loughborough University suggested. That is if they are earning the national living wage, living in low cost housing and claiming Universal Credit.

But “all households who are out of work will be worse off in 2022” and single-earner households will also struggle, the group said.

JRF chief executive Campbell Robb said: “People across the UK are struggling to afford a decent living standard, even if they have a job.

“Families with only one parent in work are facing particularly hard times, with changes to Universal Credit and other benefits meaning that they are in a worse position even after increases to the national living wage.

“Next week’s budget is an opportunity to help struggling families.

“By ending the benefit freeze and reversing cuts to the amount workers can earn before their benefits are reduced, the Government could make work pay for low income households.

“Without this action, many low paid families will find it impossible to improve their living standards for at least the next five years.”

Donald Hirsch, director of the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University, which conducted the study, added: “These figures show that there are a wide range of losers from present policies, with some of the worst off families projected to have to live on barely half of what they need.

“In-work benefits were designed to protect family incomes against hard times, and many of those they have helped are those with fewer opportunities to earn, including lone parents who only have one wage coming in.

“As Universal Credit comes in, it will need to improve what it offers to such families if a steep rise in child poverty is to be avoided.”

JRF ... in an ideal world , a representative should be appointed an Advisor by all carer and caree supporting organisation.

Their expertise is essential for all of them to adopt a new approach to what's happening in the REAL world.

Suffice to say , one of the very few that have been constant over the years ... pulling no punches ... leading the way / providing the groundwork for our supporting organisations ... and just what do they do with it ????

Something's out of kilter ... and it's not the JRF !!!!

Charities ... non combatants even before a real fight to survive starts ????

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:30 am
by Chris From The Gulag
An interesting one ... today's Guardian ... a poacher turned gamekeeper ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -thinktank

Ditch tax cuts to fund universal credit, says Iain Duncan Smith's thinktank.

Centre for Social Justice urges chancellor to row back on manifesto pledge to reduce income tax and invest in benefits instead.

Iain Duncan Smith’s thinktank is calling on the chancellor to renege on promised Tory tax cuts and instead plough billions of pounds into universal credit if he wants to help families that are just about managing.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded and chaired by the former Conservative leader, said that Philip Hammond should cancel plans to raise the threshold for personal allowance to £12,500 by 2021.

Instead, the thinktank wants to see £3.4bn taken out of the system by George Osborne in 2015 reinvested, warning that the cuts will leave 3 million people facing a £1,000 reduction in their income as they move into work.

Duncan Smith has argued that the government’s flagship welfare overhaul is a much better way to target those in need because “every penny invested in universal credit will go to low-paid workers, yet this is true of just 25 pence of every £1 invested in the income tax personal allowance”.

Now the CSJ has published a report, shared exclusively with the Guardian, that says the universal credit cash injection would result in 300,000 more people gaining employment and taking the benefit “back to its original design”.

However, the group acknowledges that such a move would be expensive and so suggests the Conservatives row back on a manifesto promise, repeated by Hammond in this year’s spring budget, to keep raising the threshold at which people start paying income tax.

The call goes far beyond demands from a number of Tory MPs to reduce a waiting time of up to six weeks for initial benefit payments, which has led to warnings of rent arrears and people forced to turn to foodbanks. People who claim universal credit from today will not receive any benefits before Christmas, affecting an estimated 60,000 households.

The CSJ backs government plans, expected next week, to reduce the period to five weeks at the cost of £140m, but says much more is needed if the welfare system is to incentivise people back into work.

The CSJ proposal is being backed by one Tory MP who recently met Theresa May to demand action over universal credit.

Johnny Mercer said: “Universal credit has the potential to help people out of poverty by removing the disincentives to move into work in the previous system and allowing them to reach their full potential. A modern compassionate Conservative government simply must get it right though.

“This government can make the system better by smoothing the path from welfare into work with a fresh investment in universal credit in this budget.”

He argued that most people in his Plymouth constituency and around the country wanted to work.

“They want a regular routine, an interaction with a community outside the home, a stake in society and a sense of purpose. Work gives this to them – and it is crucial that we make sure people are always better off because they are in work.”

Raising the personal threshold at which people begin paying income tax was a policy first started by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition in 2010, with David Cameron pledging further increases during the 2015 general election.

However, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has suggested that only £1 out of £6 spent on further rises would go to households in the bottom half of the income distribution.

Now the CSJ report claims that universal credit is more urgent. It says that Osborne’s decision two years ago to take money out of the benefit undermined its original purpose: to incentivise people into work.

The group’s chief executive, Andy Cook, said: “Universal credit is the most radical reform to the British welfare system since Beveridge. As it rolls out, it is changing thousands of lives by stripping away the welfare trap imposed by the previous system and creating incentives for people to move into work.”

He said employment did not just provide income but improved people’s self-esteem and their physical and mental health.

“Universal credit is working as a poverty-fighting tool. But it could be made even more effective by restoring the work incentives built into its original design. Every pound invested in universal credit goes to the poorest. By contrast, increasing the personal tax allowances benefits higher earners most,” he added.

Cook argued that Hammond was right not to be “profligate” but said the Conservative government ought to be targeting taxpayers’ money at those at the bottom of the income ladder.

Carl Emmerson, deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, acknowledged that there was a large cohort of people on low wages who would not benefit from the Tory promise to raise the tax threshold to £12,500.

“It is certainly the case that many low-income households don’t benefit from an increase in the personal allowance. In part this is because so many have already been taken out of tax from the increases in the personal allowance since 2010,” he said.

Emmerson argued that universal credit had originally been designed to be more generous than the system it replaced, but was now – on average – less generous.

However, he questioned whether reversing the Tory commitment to raise personal allowance would give the government enough money, arguing that it would only raise half a billion a year.

Just to put one fact into context ... £ 3.4 BILLION ... sounds a lot ?

On the total income raised by the Government , that equates to , roughly 60p in every £ 100 !!!

In that context ... peanuts.

Similar argument with carers ... raise Carers Allowance or introduce free public transport ?

In short , no real argument as the free public transport wins by a mile ... and probably upto 8 times as many carers will benefit.

The only real change to benefit all those with an income below whatever the magic figure is will be a negative income tax rate.

For example ... limit £ 12,000 , one has £ 9,000 coming in ... £ 3,000 under ... standard rate 20% ... £ 600 refunded through the tax system.

Still , full marks to IDS ... he has seen a ray of sunshine through the gloom.

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:38 am
by Chris From The Gulag
Another article ... a spin off from the UC rollout :

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2 ... hool-meals

Universal credit could mean 50,000 more children get free school meals.

Headteachers association welcomes the announcement but expresses dismay that enrolment will still not be automatic.

Around 50,000 more school children in England could get free school meals next year, after the government announced a switch to means-testing to cope with the roll-out of its controversial universal credit programme.

But the Department for Education has refused to bend further and allow automatic enrolment for disadvantaged children, forcing schools and councils to prompt families to sign up for free meals and pupil premium payments worth around £1,000 per pupil for their school.

The announcement ends the considerable uncertainty around eligibility for free school meals (FSM) and the impact of the government’s much-delayed universal credit package replacing the existing suite of benefits.

The DfE announced the proposals in a consultation published on Thursday, as the number of job centres and councils adopting universal credit continues to grow and families with children become affected for the first time.

The National Association of Head Teachers welcomed the announcement but expressed dismay that the government had again failed to make FSM enrolment automatic using government tax and benefit records.

“The data already exists, it just needs to be shared with schools. Automatically registering children for the Pupil Premium would put a serious dent in social inequality,” said Paul Whiteman, the NAHT’s general secretary.

“While we welcome this consultation, it seems a missed opportunity for a simpler system for families and schools and we’d urge the government to take this easy and obvious step.”

More than 1 million children currently receive free school meals in England, but a large proportion of eligible households fail to sign up. In some local authorities as many as a third of eligible families fail to register, meaning that families and schools miss out on funding.

FSM are mainly received by children from households where parents or guardians are on benefits such as the job-seekers allowance or child tax credits, while working less than 10 hours a week and with household income below £16,000 a year.

The existing benefits will disappear once universal credit is introduced.

According to the DfE’s consultation document, FSM eligibility will next year be for children from households with an income of up to £7,400 a year, excluding benefits, which is the equivalent to £18,000 to £24,000 a year including benefits.

“We estimate that our proposals would make around 50,000 more pupils eligible for free school meals by the time universal credit is fully rolled out,” the DfE said.

“This will enable us to target more children from lower-earning families, so that they can benefit from nutritious, free meals.”

The changes will not affect universal infant free school meals, “which will continue to be available to all pupils in reception, year 1 and year 2, regardless of parental income”.

The consultation says around 10% of pupils currently eligible for FSM would lose out under the new rules. The DfE said it would guarantee that all children currently receiving free meals would continue to do so.

Pupils still receiving FSM once the transition is complete will continue to receive FSM until they finish primary or secondary school.

“Our proposals should not only protect those children already receiving free school meals and additional school funding but will see thousands more benefiting from this support in future,” said Robert Goodwill, the DfE’s families minister.

Researchers will also be relieved to hear that the government’s consultation will look at retaining FSM as a measure of pupil disadvantage and progress.

“We are committed to continuing to publish data to support understanding of how schools are performing with their disadvantaged pupils both nationally and at school level, as these measures are a vital part of ensuring schools are able to drive social mobility,” the DfE consultation said.

“As a minimum, we will therefore issue clear caveats on the use of this data during the rollout period and up until the end of the protected status period of the current free school meals cohort, particularly at school level.”

Interesting ... the problem here is one of implementation ... inability to change over to the new way.

Why not discuss first ... make sure intrastructure is in place ... and then change ... too simple ?

Still , another ray of sunshine ... that makes two today ... next one in a few days time ?

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings

Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:38 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
It just gets better and better !

Claimants set to lose out simply because December has 5 paydays ?


Thousands of people on universal credit may not be paid over the festive season or may get a reduced payment, the BBC Money Box show has highlighted.

Those hit will be some of the 67,000 people who claim the benefit while working and who are paid weekly.

This is because there are five paydays in December, so their monthly income will be too high to get any or some of the benefit. Some will have to reapply.

The government said only a "minority" of claimants would be affected.

Universal credit merges six benefits for working-age people into one new payment, which is reduced gradually as you earn more.

The Department for Work and Pensions warns on its website that people who are paid five times in a month may have an income that is too high to qualify for the benefit in that period.

It says people will be notified if this happens and told to reapply for the benefit the following month.

Other people who are paid fives times in a month but do not earn enough for universal credit to end will have their benefit reduced.

Kayley Hignell, from Citizens Advice, said the way universal credit was calculated brought some benefits but also "significant budget challenges".

She said: "The key thing here is about communication.

"People need to know that if they're getting extra income in one month... it may stop their universal credit payment, and that they then subsequently need to put in a new claim to make sure that they continue to get those payments.

"If you've got extra money in the month, don't necessarily bank on the fact that your universal credit is going to stay the same, because it could change it either in this month or the next."

Rolled out

The Department for Work and Pensions said not all those paid weekly would get a reduced payment in December because it would depend on the date on which a claimant's universal credit was paid.

It also said the payments balanced out, because claimants entitled to more would receive it in the following month.

It said those who reapplied for the benefits would not have to submit new forms and would have their current claims restarted.

The DWP said: "For the vast majority of people in work, they will continue to get paid universal credit in a five-week month.

"Universal credit adjusts automatically to people's wages. When someone's wages take them over the UC threshold, they can get universal credit the next month, and this process is working."

Universal credit is being rolled out across the UK in stages, but its implementation, particularly the six-week wait to receive the benefit, has caused controversy.

This week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told Prime Minister's Questions that hundreds of families have been issued with eviction notices by a landlord concerned about the impact of universal credit.

January ... 2 blue moons ... what then ?

February ... Not a leap year , and so only 28 days ?

March / April ... Oh dear , Easter falls into both ... computer not programmed for that !

May ... String holding the main computer together breaks ... supplies all gone ... nobody checked the stock level.

June ... Darkness descends over the land ... not even the sun puts in an appearance ... the sound of 4 horses
approaching in the distance ... and England out of the World Cup after two close 0-5 defeats !

If fully rolled out , that figure of 67,000 will be nearer 1 MILLION ... a lower range estimate !

One worth keeping more than just two eyes on !

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings : The Steamroller Cometh !

Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:15 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
Another article from the Guardian ... worth posting as it sums up the present postion across many issues.

Authoress : Debbie Abrahams is the shadow work and pensions secretary :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... it-labour.

Chancellor, keep a million children out of poverty.

If Philip Hammond takes Labour’s advice, his budget can actually help the working poor instead of punishing them

In the last month there has been mounting evidence that the government’s flagship social security programme, universal credit, is not fit for purpose – and Labour believes the budget is a chance to fix it.

The original objectives of universal credit (UC) were to simplify social security support while ensuring that work always pays, and fundamentally to reduce child poverty. Labour supported these key commitments then, and we support them now.

But UC is failing to deliver on its objectives, as we have heard from respected charities including Child Poverty Action Group, Trussell Trust, Citizens Advice and Gingerbread. Even former government advisers, civil servants and UC’s own architects are now critical of the scheme.

The government’s social security reforms were meant to respond to the changing world of work, where labour markets are increasingly “flexible” and jobs insecure. According to the TUC, one in 10 people in the UK are in jobs that are poorly paid, precarious and short, the “low pay, no pay” cycle. In spite of the government’s mantra, for millions of people work is no longer a route out of poverty: the fact is that four out of five people in low-paid work will still be in low-paid work 10 years later.

Others have seen self-employment as a route of escape, more so as this government ramped up its punitive sanctions regime: 80% of employment growth since 2008 is down to rising self-employment. Now nearly 5 million people are registered as self-employed, 15% of the workforce; and as the Office for National Statistics recently revealed, nearly two-thirds paid themselves less than £300 a week in 2015/16.

As a consequence we have seen in-work poverty climb to record levels. Today there are 7.4 million people living in poverty from working households, over half of all those below the breadline. More than two-thirds of the 4 million children in poverty are in working families.

But instead of the government addressing these labour market issues through universal credit, it has compounded the problems. UC’s serious design flaws – the lack of capacity and functionality in the system – was made worse by the monstrous cuts made to its funding in 2015.

As it is being rolled out, universal credit is pushing people into debt and rent arrears, with many people in social and private rented housing being served eviction notices.

The six-week wait for the first payment built into the design has been shown to be the key driver of this debt, even in households that weren’t in debt previously. In Greater Manchester, where universal credit was first piloted, the average arrears are now £824, compared with £451 for non-UC tenants. No wonder the Trussell Trust is reporting that demand for emergency food parcels is 30% higher in areas where universal credit is being rolled out; more people are turning to food banks to bridge the gap.

The monthly payment in arrears is another issue. The government argues that this reflects how people are paid in employment. Yet analysis by the Resolution Foundation shows that 58% of those moving on to the UC system work were paid weekly or fortnightly.

This also means that because there are five paydays in December for workers paid weekly, 67,000 people will have a total monthly income that’s too high to get the same or some universal credit payment. Their benefit will be significantly reduced or stopped altogether and some may have to reapply.

For the self-employed the system is no more responsive. Under the policy known as the minimum income floor, they are assumed to be earning the minimum wage for 35 hours every week, with social security support only kicking in thereafter.

The problem is that this is assessed on a monthly basis, with no discretion for the natural peaks and troughs of self-employed work, or indeed for the niceties of the occasional holiday. Should they take a Christmas break, many self-employed people may suddenly find they have not met the DWP’s work requirements, and be sanctioned as a result.

If you’re thinking this doesn’t affect you, I’m sorry to say that might change, with the government planning to roll out “in-work conditionality”. This would require people who are working to report to the jobcentre and demonstrate they are seeking more hours, or face their UC support being cut.

Estimates suggest that a million more working people will be expected to report. But despite the extra resources this will require, the government is closing one in 10 jobcentres under its incoherent austerity plans.

As bad as the design and implementation issues are, they pale in comparison with the cuts to UC. Slashing the amount that you can earn before UC is withdrawn means that 3 million families will lose up to £2,600 a year.

Last week the Child Poverty Action Group reported that the cuts to UC alone will push a million more children into poverty by 2022 – 300,000 of whom will be under five – accompanied by 900,000 working-age adults. For this to happen in the fifth richest country in the world shames us all.

With a million people due to be moved on to UC over the winter, Labour is calling on the government to pause this schedule while the programme is made fit for our modern labour market.

The chancellor can make a start to this fix in his budget this week. This is what Philip Hammond must do: first reduce the six-week wait for payment, so that it lines up with the way people are paid, with all applicants to receive fortnightly payments if they so choose.

Second, ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their rent paid directly to the landlord, to stop the spate of pre-emptive eviction notices that we are now seeing.

Third, allow households to have split payments instead of just one going predominantly to the male, so setting back women’s financial autonomy.

Fourth, change the monthly assessment for self-employed workers to a yearly one, to account for volatile working patterns.

And finally, restore the work allowances slashed from UC in 2015. Hammond should also end the freeze in social security payments, and ensure all children are supported through UC, not just the first two.

Anything less won’t make UC fit for today’s labour market. Anything less will sentence a million more children to be brought up in poverty. Anything less will mean that this prime minister’s promise to tackle “burning injustices” is no more than empty rhetoric.

Diarise forward and continue to monitor developments ... if not the count in shattered lives ?

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings : The Steamroller Cometh !

Posted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:22 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
A knock on effect of UC ... disturbing to say the very least :

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-s ... ncome-loss

Universal credit: the homeless charity that could lose a third of its income.

Residents at Emmaus Greenwich face a stark choice under changes to the benefits system: lose money or lose the chance to work for the charity that supports them.

The 30 people who live in the homeless shelter run by the Emmaus Greenwich receive food, shelter, training and rehabilitation, and are offered weekly counselling. But financial uncertainty over universal credit could see an end to all of this.

The charity, one of 29 Emmaus communities in the UK, makes two thirds of its income through its shops and by selling upcycled furniture. This is made possible by the residents, known to the charity as companions, who work as close to 40 hours a week as they can for Emmaus.

The only support they claim from the government is housing benefit, which makes up the other third of the charity’s revenue. But in April 2019, all those at Emmaus Greenwich will lose their housing benefit. They will have two options: go on to universal credit, or lose all their financial support.

The charity says its residents came to a mutual agreement that they would turn down universal credit and continue working for Emmaus. In the past, some charities have been criticised for making people work 40 hours a week. At Emmaus Greenwich, while this is the case for most, the hours are flexible for people who can’t work fulltime or for those with mental health or other issues, including addiction or anger management, who may need to work more flexibly.

Universal credit claimants are required to spend 35 hours a week looking for work and then take the first job offered. This would have a huge impact on the residents – and the charity itself, according to Tony Bradbury, chief executive of Emmaus Greenwich. Under the new rules, the residents wouldn’t be able to work for the charity, so the shop would lose its staff, hitting its income.

Bradbury says work is a key aspect of the way Emmaus Greenwich is run. “We would end up as a hostel providing a roof and no work, and we think work is key to getting companions back on the road. It rehabilitates people and gives them self-respect,” he says.

He believes universal credit will increase the number of people living on the streets. “It isn’t designed to help those who are less able to cope. Universal credit is meant to put people back into work, but in our case it’s going to lead to people losing the ability to work.”

The loss of housing benefits could mean the charity having to increase its revenue by as much as 40% over the next 18 months. “We’ll have to work much harder to make money from our trading business,” said Bradbury.

He is concerned that this may put extra pressure on both residents and the charity. At the moment, he says, “all companions have to do is work to the best of their ability – and for some people here that’s not a great deal. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up selecting people we think are the most capable, whereas we should be helping the most needy.”

One resident, Sam, moved into Emmaus Greenwich last year, and has been supported to do a British sign language course so he can work with children with hearing disabilities. But while he wants to stay to save up for the second level of the course, Sam says the introduction of universal credit is putting him under greater pressure to get his training finished and move out into his own place. “There is a pressure to move on quicker,” he says.

Another resident became homeless when his health started to decline in his 40s. Now aged 58, he says it would be too hard for him to go back into the “big wide world”.

This man has stayed at Emmaus three times in the past 13 years and, since returning in 2014, he’s decided to remain until he can retire. He has many health problems but is well enough to claim employment and support allowance.

“I’m glad I’m not young,” he says, about the benefit change. “If it affects me, I don’t care. I’m old and I can survive by my wits. I know people through my church who I can stay with. But it’d be like sofa surfing, all temporary fixes, which isn’t a life because there’s no security.”

Bradbury says he is resigned to the fact that the new benefit system will not work for his charity, but he hopes public opinion will force the government to make changes. He believes universal credit payments need to be paid more frequently than four weeks, – jobseeker’s allowance, for example, was fortnightly. “It’s no good wishing everyone was capable and organised, because they’re not,” he says. He also wants to see more flexible job coaches and a less punitive system. At the moment, claimants who don’t take a job because it is fewer hours or lower pay than they wanted are sanctioned.

UC ... allied with housing ... the perfect storm ... and it's coming !!!

Any bets against ?

On manors like Worksop , no local bookie would take that bet ... no one to lay it off on !!!!

Re: Universal Credit Rollout : Mines / Sanctions / Changes / Less Monies / Warnings : The Steamroller Cometh !

Posted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:47 pm
by Chris From The Gulag
Irony of ironies .... how many times do we , in CarerLand , see this ?

The number of people gaining recognition and awards for their " Achievements " in both CarerLand , And CareeLand ... whilst we only see conditions worsen from year to year .. some , from month to month.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/po ... 9141.html.

Universal credit boss wins ‘project management’ award despite evidence that claimants are plunged into hardship.

Neil Couling has also tweeted pictures of cakes to celebrate the new benefit - which many people blame for forcing them onto the breadline.

Just a snippet :

Critics of the troubled universal credit shake-up have reacted with disbelief after its boss won a “project management” award.

Neil Couling, the Department for Work and Pensions official in charge of the programme, was hailed for “a significant contribution to the art and science of project management”.

He described it as an “absolute honour to receive this reward on behalf of all the dedicated public servants working hard to make universal credit a success”.

But Frank Field, the Labour chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said: “The world has gone mad and a unicorn will shortly distribute Easter eggs to the entire country. It's preposterous.”

Well said Frank ... one of the very few mps whose very soul is on the side of the " Underclass. "

Definately one to cross off any festive season card list ?

Always rely on the System to reward it's own ... at our expense ?

Achievement ... for keeping the plebs in their correct place ?