Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|3 Mar 2020, 11:58 a.m.||Universal Credit: Disability||Ruth Jones|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of universal credit on the financial circumstances of disabled claimants.
Answer (Justin Tomlinson)
The Government has made a commitment to publish a new National Strategy for Disabled People in 2020, focusing on removing barriers to ensure disabled people can lead a life of opportunity and fully participate in British society. The strategy will be developed with disabled people, disability organisations and charities, and will support disabled people in all aspects and phases of their lives, including housing, education, transport and jobs.
Millions of people who move onto Universal Credit from legacy benefits are better off, including around a million disabled households who will gain on average around £100 per month.
The Department takes seriously the need to support vulnerable claimants, and wants the application process for Universal Credit to be as quick and easy as possible, ensuring that claimants receive money at the earliest opportunity. We have listened to feedback on how we can improve Universal Credit to support our claimants and acted quickly, making improvements such as extending advances, removing waiting days, and introducing housing benefit run on. These changes are giving support to those who need it most, whilst at the same time helping people get into work faster.
The Severe Disability Premium (SDP) gateway has been in place for over a year to prevent those claimants entitled to the SDP as part of their legacy benefit from claiming Universal Credit. We have successfully identified eligible former SDP claimants who have already moved to Universal Credit due to a change in circumstances, providing them with monthly payments and a lump sum in arrears, where appropriate.
As of 17 January 2020, 15,397 claims have been paid an SDP transitional payment. The median value of the lump sum payments is £2,280. To date, over £51.5m has been disbursed to support former SDP claimants, including the recurring payments that have now commenced.
Through our network of Jobcentres, the Department is taking a range of action to support disadvantaged groups, working closely with employers and partners in their local community to provide opportunities to help them move closer and into employment.