Peter Aldous calls on the Government to give one-off up-front payments when people transfer to universal credit to address the problems caused by the current five-week wait for the first payment.
Universal credit ensures that support goes to those who need it most by simplifying the previously complicated legacy system, allowing 700,000 more people to receive approximately £2.4 billion in unclaimed benefits. Since 1 April this year, the Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland Help to Claim service has been in place, providing free, confidential and impartial support to help people, including those who are vulnerable, to make a universal credit claim.
I acknowledge the work that the Minister and the Secretary of State have done to improve universal credit, though concern remains that the five-week wait for the first payment is presenting a serious challenge to many people. To address this, will he accept the recommendation of the Bright Blue think-tank for one-off, up-front helping hand payments?
Those moving to universal credit will get more than 25% of their award through two weeks of additional housing benefit and, as of next year, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance and income support. Advances are available to cover the interim period, but we recognise the concerns about the payments in arrears and would welcome further ideas.
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