More details of the £1.5 billion package of support for Universal Credit were set out today by David Gauke, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
The measures announced include:
- local authorities being able to recoup over 80% of the money they spend on temporary accommodation directly from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rather than from the claimant, preventing losses of more than £70 million over 2018/19
- extended partnership working with Citizen’s Advice, to provide more face to face support to Universal Credit claimants
This follows the package of improvements for new claimants announced in yesterday’s Autumn Budget, including:
- abolishing the 7 waiting day period to reduce the wait for payment from 6 weeks to 5 from February 2018
- extending the repayment of advances from 6 to 12 months, and allowing people to receive 100% of their payment upfront from January 2018 (people who make a claim in December can get a 50% advance, and then in January can ask for a top up to 100%)
- making it possible for people to apply for advances online from spring 2018, making it even easier for a claimant to access an advance if they need it
- paying an additional 2 weeks’ of housing costs after the end of someone’s Housing Benefit claim and into their Universal Credit claim from April 2018
- making it easier for claimants to continue having their housing costs paid directly to landlords once they are on Universal Credit
To allow these improvements to be made as quickly as possible, we will also be changing the rate of Universal Credit full service rollout for 3 months from February 2018 to 10 jobcentres a month, increasing to 41 in May 2018.
The timetable of the Universal Credit full service transition has been updated.