Stephen Timms explains the “fatal fault” of the universal credit system
Neil Couling, chief change officer and senior owner responsible for Universal Credit warned that people who received severance pay or a final salary in the month they applied for universal credit could receive less than what they paid for. expected. He said “you can never reach 100 percent” and admitted that people may think “it’s not quite what I expected” when they see their first payout total.
He said new applicants could be “confused” by what they are entitled to as the ministry prepares to pay for new applications from April 22.
He said: “I think there will be a few confused people here for the first two weeks because they have never had experience of how universal credit works before, so we will try to explain all of this to them.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions warned that the upfront payments “are going to be a problem” as some people “may be surprised that it is not as much as they expected”.
She said this would be due to any income or severance pay that a claimant may have received that affects the amount to which he is entitled.
Universal credit applicants may not receive as much as they hoped
DWP has received record 1.4 million claims as coronavirus continues to take hold of UK and thousands are forced to stop work
The DWP has received a record 1.4 million complaints as the coronavirus continues to take hold of the UK and thousands of people are forced to quit their jobs.
Mr Couling said it would be “simply impossible” to reduce the five-week wait for payments from new claimants.
He predicted that the cost of paying new claims could skyrocket “billions” per year over the next few months.
He said, “It will be billions because of the nature of spending on universal credit.
Universal Credit boss said it would be “simply impossible” to reduce the five-week wait for payments from new applicants
“The average Universal Credit payment is £ 800 per month. So let’s say if you’ve done 800 times 12, times a million or more people who will qualify, you can roughly do that from that kind of calculation.
Mr Couling insisted the welfare system would “take the pressure” from new claimants, saying: “This is what it was designed to do.”
He also said he was “confident” that the department is “in a very good position” to exceed the 87% of universal credit payments which, on average, were received in full and quickly before the pandemic.
When asked if 87% of claimants would be paid in full and on time, Mr Couling said: “I think we will do better than that, definitely.
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“Looking at the current estimates that the system gives me at the moment, we are already at the payout levels which, as you said, are in peacetime.
“So I think we’re going to do better than that, I’m really confident in what we’ve done.”
In his confidence, Couling added, “We have erased all identity checks, we have erased verification checks.
“So I’m pretty optimistic about it, I think we’re in a very good position.”
What is the Universal Credit? Express.co.uk explains here
Mr. Couling admitted his department “climbs a really big mountain” but is “in good shape” ahead of peak week.
He said: “Next week is the real peak week.
“So we had about 270,000 claims in the first week of the pandemic, we had about 540,000 in the second week, then about 380,000, and last week, about 220,000.
“So that’s the kind of mountain we have to climb. I’m more and more convinced that we’ll make the half a million depending on how fast we resolve cases, how hard people try through DWP and the additional resources.
“No doubt … I would pay a lot of money, we will make these claims successful and it is our duty to make them and everyone at DWP is working hard to make it happen. “
Couling confirmed that the department received 1.4 million applications for universal credit, compared to 220,000 normally filed in an average month, including “about three times the normal rate of applications for the self-employed.”
He said the monthly assessment period for those who first submitted claims on March 16 has ended and, starting Wednesday, they “can see in their online account how much they are owed and who will be paid. April 22 “.