Universal Credit will be paid sooner to new claimants from today (14 February 2018).
Everyone is now entitled to Universal Credit from the first day they claim, removing 7 days some had to wait.
This change was announced as part of a wider £1.5 billion package of improvements to Universal Credit in the Autumn Budget 2017.
Work and Pensions Secretary of State Esther McVey said:
“It can be a worrying time looking for work and our priorities are to help people find employment quickly and to improve lives. Our package of support affords better help for people as soon as they make a claim to Universal Credit.”
We will be removing the 7 waiting days, which means no one has to wait 6 weeks for their first Universal Credit payment and this will benefit the average household by around £160.
The comprehensive package also includes an increase in advance payments to 100% of the expected Universal Credit payment. This means anyone who needs help before their first Universal Credit payment can receive up to their full expected Universal Credit within 5 days, or on the same day if in urgent need. The repayment period has also been extended to a year
From April 2018, anyone in receipt of Housing Benefit who moves onto Universal Credit will continue to have their rent paid for 2 weeks during the wait for their first payment, and that payment is non recoverable.
Under Universal Credit, people get more personalised support that meets their individual needs and we are seeing jobseekers moving into work faster and staying in work longer than compared to the old system.