The DWP has issues a new Universal Credit FAQ document (here) and it will take 6.5 weeks before the claimant receives any money.
Make a claim today on Friday 7 August 2015 and you will receive welfare benefit and housing benefit on Monday 21 September 2015 – and given the word “usually” it may be longer. In this time the claimant household receives no money
On 21 September and 44 days after the claim was made the claimant receives 37 days worth of welfare benefit and 37 days worth of housing benefit.
This new FAQ updates the previous position which was the first payment was made one month and 5 days after the claim.
As such this change means Universal Credit’s first payment which was bad enough at 35 days now takes 9 days longer to arrive. So much for its ability to work as a system!
How will claimants manage?
“Many” if one of those vague and meaningless terms. It does not mean a majority of new claimants either and so the majority of new claimants could NOT have up to a months wage on which to manage and to manage for 44 days.
More than “many” could have nothing to survive this minimum 44 day period on.
Note well that one full week of housing benefit is not paid meaning every tenant will go at least one week in arrears which also adds to the one week all tenants are likely to be in arrears anyway as all weekly tenancy agreements are a week in advance. So given you have to survive for 44 days which is 7 rent weeks then if you cannot pay any rent in this waiting period you will be 9 weeks in arrears when the first payment arrives.
Unless you can pay more than 5 weeks rent payment while awaiting the first UC payment then you will be more than 4 weeks in arrears and the landlord can – and will – request a managed payment which is the rent direct PLUS up to 20% of your standard UC payment on top of this.
As such when you get your first UC payment it will be between £45.91 less than expected or up to £147 less than expected which is the range of 10% for a single standard UC amount up to 20% of the couple standard UC rate for this 44 day period. Note that this is double to quadruple the amounts deducted at source from welfare benefit under the current system.
If you have had to take out an advance on the first UC payment then there will be further deductions to repay the amount advanced on top of this.
In short every social and every private tenant who goes onto Universal Credit is going to be up to their eyes in it from day one with regards to paying rent.
Universal Credit was bad enough with the one month plus 5 day waiting time for the first payment. This being extended by a further 9 days will create immediate poverty and extend that poverty position over longer periods with the increased deductions.
It is also a huge indicator on the efficacy of the Universal Credit It systems ability to cope.
The move from 35 days to 44 days is in consequence of the UC rollout to all new single person claims only and we still have less then 1% of those the UC IT system is intended to cope with actually being on UC.
How much longer will UC take to make the first payment when it expands 100 times to include all those it was meant to deal with actually being on UC is the real question!!
The excerpts above come from a DWP UC document on UC and paying rent published this week. The DWP also published another UC Frequently Asked Questions for UC in general this week too which is here
Here is how they discuss waiting time in that document and it is the same outcome
Read the above correctly and you submit a claim on 9 July and then the assessment period begins 7 days later on 16 July. The assessment period last for one calendar month and ends on 15 August and then you are “usually” paid within 7 days of that or by 22 August.
So a claim started on 9 July is paid on 22 August – 44 days!!!
Note the wording about the first assessment period “…it may start immediately from the sate you submit your claim.” I assume and it is no more than that yet looks highly likely, that this refers to a claimant being moved ONTO Universal Credit as part of the eventual full rollout. So an existing claimant, an existing disabled claimant is migrated onto UC on 12 August and then has an assessment period until 11 September and then receives the first UC payment on 18 September.
That is 37 days without any money and is how the DWP is moving everyone to welfare benefit payments being one month in arrears