1 Universal Credit Overview- Wrexham Poverty Event 6th March 2015Nic Bellis- ‘District Integrated Operational Delivery Manager’, North and Mid Wales, DWP.
2 Universal Credit – overview Universal Credit aims to ensure claimants are better off in work than on benefits. It promotes personal responsibility to actively seek work and increase earnings, while continuing to provide support for those who need it most.It’s designed to make work pay. As claimants earn more money, financial support will be withdrawn at a slower rate than is the case under the current system. Real Time information (RTI) link with HMRC will facilitate thisClaimants will be able to apply for their benefits online. 80 per cent of benefit claimants already use the internet. Telephone and other support services available if needed.A single payment will be made to a household rather than an individual. This will include housing costs. It will be paid monthly, in arrears.Universal Credit requires claimants to accept a ‘Claimant Commitment’. This sets out what is expected in return for receiving assistance, taking into account personal circumstances and capability to earn.Local support will be available to help claimants where appropriate. This will be provided through DWP and local authority delivery partnerships.2
3 Universal Credit - it’s all about work Universal Credit aims to reward work. No 16 hour rule and no limits on the number of hours someone can work. UC payment only reduces gradually as their take home pay increases so claimants won’t lose all their benefits at once if they are on a low income.Universal Credit will encourage a new type of relationship with claimants. Work Coaches will help claimants to become more independent by supporting them in their worksearch activities. They will help claimants plan and focus their jobsearch as well as set them actions that give them the best chance of finding work.Universal Credit aims to support jobseekers through the Claimant Commitment to raise their expectations of what they can achieve, and to encourage responsibility. Those who are fit and ready for work will be expected to look for a job on a full time basis dependent on circumstances.Universal Credit claimants are expected to use Universal Jobmatch, an intelligent job matching service that helps employers to get the best fit for the jobs that they have on offer.3
4 Universal Credit - overview HousingBenefitIncome basedJobseekersAllowanceIncome basedEmploymentand SupportAllowanceUniversalCreditChild TaxCreditWorkingTaxCreditsIncomeSupportWill replace six main working age benefits with one simple paymentUC is paid monthly – in a single payment to a household rather than an individual. This includes housing costs and is paid monthly in arrears.Is for people in work and out of workUses PAYE in real time information (RTI) – a revolutionary change in the way earnings are handled by HMRC, which reduces the burden of reporting for employers. The new system provides DWP with the information to adjust the amount of Universal Credit payment any employed claimant receives.
5 What’s different about Universal Credit? PAID MONTHLYIN AND OUT OF WORKPAID DIRECTLYCLAIMANT COMMITMENT REQUIREMENTSCLAIMANT COMMITMENT – LIKE A CONTRACTIT’S ABOUT WORKIT’S LIKE WORKFULL TIME WORK SEARCHIT ENCOURAGES WORKEASY TRANSITION UC TO WORK (AND BACK)EARNINGS, NOT HOURSA SIMPLE TAPER SO BETTER OFF IN WORK
6 Universal Credit claimant journey I attend my interview at the jobcentre, taking along any paperwork that has been asked for. I sign my Claimant Commitment, which records the activities I’ve agreed to do in return for receiving Universal Credit.I receive my Universal Credit decision letter. It tells me when I will receive my payments, and confirms what I need to do in return for getting Universal Credit.I telephone the helpline if there is a change in my circumstances, including if I start work. My Claimant Commitment is reviewed and may be changed to take into account my new situation.I get information or advice about how to claim Universal Credit.I receive a telephone call inviting me to attend an interview in the jobcentre.I begin looking for work. I can get advice on jobseeking, budgeting and going online from my work coach.If a change in my circumstances means my Universal Credit payments change, I receive a letter confirming the new details.I make my claim online at GOV.UK. If I need help, I can telephone the Universal Credit helpline for assistance.I regularly visit the jobcentre where my work coach and I discuss the actions we’ve agreed in my Work Plan.I receive a text message to remind me about my interview at the jobcentre.
7 Some UC Benefit Facts:‘Universal Credit Advance’ (offered at New Claim or when a major Change of Circumstance is reported) this provides emergency funds which are then repaid over a set period.First payment comes after an ‘Assessment Period’ at week 5.‘Personal Budgeting Advice’- to help claimants adjust to monthly payments.‘Alternative Payment Arrangements’ available in certain circumstances.‘About Universal Credit’- on-line guidance available on gov.uk.
8 Live service – experience so far The vast majority of claims (over 90%) from Universal Credit claimants have been made online.Over three-quarters (78%) of Universal Credit claimants also feel confident about their ability to budget with monthly paymentsAlmost two-thirds of Universal Credit claimants think that the new system provides a better financial incentive to workUniversal Credit claimants are doing more to get into work than jobseekers claiming under the current system – 27.1 hrs / week versus 13.6 hours /weekRTI is working for claimants and employers - majority of employers are submitting PAYE data in real time ; RTI data is used in approximately 30% of UC payment calculations
9 Progression and future roll out North West expansion completed 15 DecemberAll live service sites now take UC claims from couplesUC for families was successfully in 6 Jobcentres in the North West from 24th November (linked to Warrington and The Wirral Local Authorities)All live service sites will accept claims from families during early 2015 – 26 sites will do this from 26 January with further roll out to followNational roll out for single claimants to commence in February 2015 and will be rolled out in 4 Tranches through 2015 and early 2016Wrexham goes live 16th March