The system no longer automatically backdates payments
‘Universal Credit claimants have been left angered by a change to the backdated payments system.
MPs have demanded an urgent review of changes to the six-in-one benefit system after automatic start-date protections have been scrapped by the Department of Working Pensions [DWP].
Under previous rules, benefits would be calculated from the date an application began but with UC the start date is apparently only protected if a claimant turns up in person to a jobcentre when they apply.
This has reportedly resulted in thousands of vulnerable people suffering financially because the system no longer automatically backdates claims from when someone started their application, according to BirminghamLive.
Many claimants have reported that the system is not working, with it pushing some struggling people to extreme lengths.
Vulnerable women say they have turned to prostitution to feed their children after not receiving any of their payments, and a desperate Plymouth man threatened to steal just so he was able to afford Christmas presents.
But Department of Working Pensions (DWP) staff say that the system is working just fine .
The system has also has recently been revealed to leave almost two million people £1,000 worse off a year.
The “deeply concerning” news of scrapping the automatic start-date protections has prompted Bob Doris, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Social Security Committee, to contact Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd.
Mr Doris has demanded an urgent review of the change.
In his letter, Mr Doris said: “As I am sure you know, there can be many reasons why someone may not be in a position to submit a completed claim on the first day of entitlement.
“It may not be possible to get to a jobcentre, particularly given recent closures. There is no doubt this is a backward step and this ill-thought-out change will unfairly impact the most vulnerable people in Scottish society.
“At a recent committee meeting, we heard from Glasgow City Council that each and every month 200 claimants, from Glasgow alone, will suffer financially due to the council no longer being able to protect the date of claim.
“This is deeply concerning when you consider the number of claimants that would be affected across Scotland.
“There is already a minimum wait of five weeks for those submitting a claim to receive financial support so this new development is simply not acceptable.
“Whether the DWP were aware of the impact this change would have or not, we want to see it swiftly resolved.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “With Universal Credit people receive support to make their claim on day one, meaning they are entitled to cash on their first day.
“This can all be done without needing to go into a jobcentre.
“And with the support of the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service we can ensure there is a consistent approach across the country in the support provided, for example, to those who need further assistance getting online.”
Do you have a Universal Credit story to share or for us to investigate?