Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|10 Jun 2019, 12:43 p.m.||Universal Credit||Steve McCabe|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 April 2019 to Question 240478, if he will itemise each step referred to in that Answer.
Answer (Alok Sharma)
The Department has taken a number of steps to ensure that advances meet the needs of claimants and that the recovery arrangements are personalised and reasonable.
Affordability is managed by ensuring the recovery rate for these advances will not be more than the equivalent of 40 per cent of the claimant’s standard allowance. The claimant is given the choice over the repayment period and it is explained to them exactly how much will be deducted each month depending on the option they choose. If the claimant is making the advance application online, these options are clearly displayed on screen for them to choose from.
If during the recovery of an advance the claimant experiences an unforeseen expense that would cause them or their family genuine hardship if they were required to continue to repay the advance, then they can be offered a deferral period of the repayment of the advance of up to 3 months for a new claim, benefit transfer or change of circumstance advance and up to 6 months for a budgeting advance.
The Department has also announced that from October 2019 the maximum rate of deductions from a claimant’s standard allowance will be reduced from 40 per cent to 30 per cent and from October 2021 we will be increasing the recovery period for advances from 12 to 16 months, further supporting those in financial need. This is in addition to having previously increasing the amount a claimant could receive as an advance payment from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of their indicative award.