Universal Credit needs your input.

Universal Credit sand

UniversalCredit.co.uk is now on Twitter, follow us @universalcredi1

 

Universal Credit would like to invite you to write an article for the site. If you have strong opinions on the universal credit or feel that there is a component of the UC that needs to be explored further, please feel free to submit any articles to us at mail@universalcredit.co.uk . Each and every article will considered by us for publication. Please note that once submitted, articles will become the property of universalcredit.co.uk although full credit will be given to authors when published.

We look forward to receiving your articles on the  universal credit, many thanks from the universal credit team.

We want to hear your real stories about how the Universal Credit, Benefit Cap or Bedroom Tax has affected you and your family.

Please bookmark us at www.WelfareReform.co.uk or www.UniversalCredit.co.uk

76 Comments

  1. My continually developing paper on welfare reform with a lot of detailed modelling can be downloaded from http://blog.cix.co.uk/gmorgan

    Reply
    • Excellent blog Gareth, great information.

      Reply
    • jenny says:

      i will not be able to claim any universal credits im a single mm with 2 children under 10 as the child element is stopped as i part own a house in addition to the one i live in – this was a rental property and brings in 25 a month this ‘house’is calssifeid as capital under the new rules , i dont work so the kids will be going into care – my current property will be reposessed to pay my current commmunity charge – my duaghter is suicidal we are all upset

      Reply
    • Andrew says:

      I am a registered 100% disabled solider living off my war disability pension. My wife works full time and we have three children. When I left the army I had a lump sum which we split and used as a lump sum on the house and the rest helps with the mortgage payments. Because of this lumps sum (which is over 16000 but isn’t a lot more) will we lose out on the child tax credit side of the universal credit now when it changes over and would I get any part of the disability element or are we going to be worse off just like everybody else

      Reply
  2. Congratulations on your new site.

    Universal credit is set to be one of the most controversial benefits the UK has known, it is our opinion that the system is long due an overhaul and on paper universal credit has the potential to make a difference to many people. Sadly we know from experience that “on paper” and in practice are two different things; ESA as an example.

    If it encourages people to seek employment, removes barriers from starting employment and reduces fraud then this can only be a good thing for the individual and the country.

    We wish you every success and hope that this site becomes a useful resource.

    Regards

    Aiden

    Reply
    • Many thanks Aiden for your kind words and input.

      Regards
      Dave

      Reply
      • Patricia says:

        What about the people who have always worked, are on a low income have had to claim tax credits to top up their income and have strived hard to crawl up the ladder by saving for their future e.g. for a deposit on a house. When tax credits are scrapped and universal credit take over people in this category will suffer because what they have strived for will be stripped from them little by little if they have managed to save over £6000 and they will get nothing if they have over £16000. This is a system that ensures only the wealthy will be able to own property and be able to afford to educate their children and ensure their future. This is a slap in the face for thousands of families.

        Reply
  3. Bill Irvine says:

    Dave,

    Congrats on the website.

    I’m an ex Head of Benefits, Revenues & Advice Services at one of the UK’s largest councils and an ex Advisor to the HB Standing Committee, Westminster. Having retired from Local Government in 2001, I spent some time in the private sector but around two years ago I was invited to attend, as an observer, a number of HB First-tier tribunal hearings. I was so disappointed by what I observed I decided to set up a company offering assistance to Housing Associations and Private Landlords, including representation at First and Upper-tier tribunals. My recent experience led me to produce two recent articles (see below) relating to Welfare Reforms which, in many ways, support the views expressed by Messrs Frost and Seddon.
    http://www.hbadvice.co.uk/articles/YPN_BillIrvine_Dec2011.pdf
    http://www.hbadvice.co.uk/articles/SFHA_Hitting_the_DWP_Brick_Wall.pdf
    I’ve also read Gareth’s recent updated analysis which is similarly very helpful and should aid others understanding of how UC is likely to impact.

    I hope others, like me, will become aware of your helpful site and provide deserved support.

    Regards,

    Bill

    Reply
    • Hi Bill,

      Thanks for the kind words. Excellent articles, I’m sure they’ll be helpful to our readers.
      Any articles you would like to share with us would be much appreciated.

      Kind regards
      Dave

      Reply
  4. karen clarke says:

    The sentiments in the Secretary of State summary relatively speaking are accurate I feel. The claimants world financially is impoverished by benefit dependancy. But not only that the claimant can be psychologically and socially inpoverished by non-integration with others and lack of stimulation and fruitful activity. Having said that it can be hard even if one can manage it to do/find a job which pays enough to cover all costs of living. Some of the arguement seems to revolve around how universal credit will be delivered i.e using information technology. I agree with the caution and isnot it insensitive to the need of person to person contact that will stimulate the economy and create jobs and which most of us prefer. Also, many find the internet mentally and physically inaccessible literally. More imaginative investments in peoples talents and abilities are needed. In the 1990s I was an aspiring fashion model. handed benefit form on mental health ward even before that I had a fledgling career-no encouragement-lost to illness and predicament. on benefits since for 20 yrs! So much talent is wasted and there’s so much talent out there-about time this cause was taken up-in the right way. hand outs and help outs please-invest!!!

    Reply
  5. This is an odious idea, not least because it is fundamentally and profoundly insincere – and expressly designed to hound people over the edge who are already living on the brink and clinging to survival for themselves and their families; while also straining every muscle, nerve and sinew in their efforts to create a future on the basis of practically nothing. And all because this Government will not admit that it would prefer to see the poor ( working or otherwise) lined up and shot as (supposedly) expendable lives. Universal Credit is nothing more than an attempt to eliminate the poorest and most vulnerable by the back door. As if such people do not already have enough fear and uncertainty to deal with…!

    Reply
    • I agree 100% & this must be world war three we are entering I can only see a horrid end. I agree it’s good to work if the job provides enough for all living expenses but what sense is it to be working for very little & be worse off! an end to life more like,also the rules have changed yet again as I found out at the job focused interview! it was at first you have to return to work when your child reaches five ok! and now we are being forced back into work even if we have children under five even babies as young as nine months old if not younger, we are now expected to leave our children with strangers even if they are qualified childminders who our children don’t know, if we have no family to help look after our children, & go to work! How is this helping anyone in the family? it doesn’t!, It’s the road to Hell that’s all this is heading too! children need their parents & now this is no longer taken into consideration, who ever made these rules we must abide by would rather us put our children’s lives in danger all for the sake of money! it’s evil & needs eliminating, we all have a right to live!

      Reply
  6. s marsh says:

    As i understand people with over £16000 in savings will no longer be able to claim working tax credits or the new universal credits which will include myself, they are now penalizing people for working and saving, what is the point in working and trying to save for the future only to be told you now have £16000 and are no longer entitled to working tax credits? without working tax credits we will only have £130 a week to live on, we will then be forced to use the savings up which we have saved for the future, having then spent that to live on will then be able to claim but not save, so what do the future hold for us? not much and there are thousands of people like us, this looks like a scheme to raid our bank accounts and send thousands of people into poverty or further into poverty what ever the case may be, it looks like there is no reward for the low earners who want to save for the future indeed it will be impossble to save even if you wanted to, also the people affected will no longer be able to have free prescripions and dentistry making life even harder.

    Reply
    • Tony says:

      Yes s marsh I am in this position also and what a stupid idea to “Means Test” Universal Credit. If anyone is listening why not count the Net Interest as Taxable Income instead ? This would still allow savings without it having to be used as “Income”.

      Reply
    • Alanna Cohen says:

      I have asked the £16,000 question (response from Lord Freud ) and have been assured that transitional protection will apply to people already in receipt of tax credits as long as there is no ‘significant change in circumstances’ I don’t know how long this transitional protection will last for but I’m guessing it means that it would be a bad idea to make more babies or split up with/ acquire a new partner or move to another rented property as these would presumably constitute significant change. The rationale behind this is that people should be expected to use their own money if they have it and in response to the ‘but I’ve been trying to save for a house’ argument, the reply is that there can be no evidence that savings are earmarked for a home purchase and in any case in the current climate of lending, a household on universal credit is highly unlikely to be able to obtain a mortgage.
      I disagree with this. We have private pension accounts that are not classed as savings or capital for means tested benefits, I don’t think it is beyond the realms of possibility for the banks to step in here and create designated ‘saving for a home’ accounts that can only be accessed for property purchase. As far as the difficulty in getting a mortgage goes, I am confident that I could get a mortgage on a 3 bed property in my area (although not exactly at the top end of the market) if I had a 20% deposit. This would mean about £26k though, not £16k. This would be a mortgage of 3.5x household income (inclusive of Child Tax Credit) which is currently out at the edges of the mortgage market but definitely not unobtainable.
      If we can’t do designated savings accounts, then we should set the limit to e.g. 20% of the amount needed to buy an average for area property of the requisite size (using the same rules as HB room allocation) plus one bedroom (if I’m actually purchasing I don’t think my children should be forced to share because they are under 10 as I wouldn’t want to move again within that timespace). This is probably an unnecessarily complicated equation for a computer system that is not yet tried and tested, so the designated bank accounts would be a safer bet.

      Reply
    • Debbie says:

      OMG, so now other taxpayers should support you becasue you don’t want to use your own money to live off?! What a cheek. No wonder Britain is going downhill fast financially! I would like to see a situation where benefits don’t kick in until your own capital is down to £1,000 or £2,000.

      Reply
      • sally says:

        I agree absolutely! The person states they have £130 a week to live off, how have you managed to save so much? If you can save this much why do you need benefits? Its meant to be a safety net for the poorest not an entitlement so you can hoarde money for future luxuries.

        Reply
      • Jas says:

        Scenario: Lady has a good income for 10 years and saves £40k, paying her share of tax in that time. She then is unable to continue in that job but can’t receive UTC because of her savings. She spends the next 4 years living off them and has none left.
        Her friend had no savings and was claiming UTC for 4 years until she landed a job with a good income. After a further 10 years she has saved £40k.
        Today, the first lady has £6k left. The second has £40k, yet they have both had the same fortunes and misfortunes – just in a different order. They have both been taxpayers but only one of them received benefits – and you think the other would have a ‘cheek’ to complain?!

        Reply
  7. kirsty says:

    Having watched the televised news today I began to panic. I then decided to look into what the new iniversal credit would mean for me. I am a lone parent and in the eyes of others I am nothing more than a scrounger, which to be honest makes me angry afterall there would not be any lone parents if fathers took on their responsibility’s but that is another issue ( for this government it’s easier to blame the mothers).
    I have worked and had a good career, owned my own home and done all of the other respectable things that society expects. I had my son when I was 28( so no sorry I don’t fall into the gymslip mum category either) and took on the full responsibility of caring for him alone after his father decided it wasn’t the right time for children. I continued to work, sold my home and moved nearer to my family. At the age of 2 my son was constantly ill, my wages were docked for the time off that I had to take care of him and I still had to pay the nursery fee’s in full. It got to the stage where I was going to be evicted from my home because I could not keep my head above water. I was forced into giving up work just to keep a roof over our heads. After several hospital admissions my son’s consultant told me I should have been getting disability benefit for my son all along. At the age of 5 I was awarded the middle rate of care which was a god send. It covered all of the extra heating and equipment that I needed for him.
    I also receive carers allowance and still have to attend interviews at the jobcentre every 3 months which even the advisor thinks is ridiculous as I am a full time carer for my son. If I do not attend my income support is reduced which is already reduced because I am a carer????.
    Today to my horror I have discovered that I am to lose more than £500.00 per month. The disability element has been cut in half for a child. The money that I am to receive will not even cover the rent on my home which I had to move into because of my son’s disability, I have no choice in where we live.
    We do not live the high life, I have one night off a year and that is not an exageration, I spend my time trying to keep my son out of hospital which is actually saving the country thousands of pounds. I am not a scrounger just a victim of circumstance I would far rather have a child that is fit and healthy than take a penny of tax payers money. How can these changes to the benefit system be justified. Mr Cameron had a disabled child he more than anyone should understand the daily difficulties that we endure . I will always remember him on PMQ’S saying how difficult he found it filling in the forms for the DLA. DLA for him was money to pay for the nannies DLA for normal people is a lifeline. If the government is so hell bent on penalising disabled children why don’t they means test it. Millionaires receiving benefits is wrong. This government should hang it’s head in shame.

    Reply
    • Will H says:

      Slightly off topic but lone parents are not just women! mothers ALSO need to take responsibility..your statement was prejudice .. I manage to work AND take care of my two boys. Universal Credit will straighten out finances and get the country out of this rut

      Reply
  8. Bobby says:

    Kirsty unfortunately you are a victim of circumstance, what the government do not realise is, that they are dealing with human beings and peoples lives, it is a sad indictment for the 21rst century that the people who work hard for their lot are being penalised, I hope the Government are going to put as much effort into penalising MP’s who massage their expenses..Also when it comes around to voting Labour don’t bother, they endorse this Unfair system.

    Kindest
    Bobby

    Reply
  9. Liz Dawson says:

    Would you like a review copy of the new CPAG guide ‘Universal Credit: what you need to know’ for this website? Maybe one of the regular contributors would like to review it? More info here http://www.onlineservices.cpag.org.uk/shop/UC

    Reply
  10. amanda says:

    Being a landlord and working in the DHSS tennats i am afraid that i shall now be starting to evict my most vulnerable tenants as they will not be able to manged there accounts and shall become heavily in arrears, I am so upset as this new system shall mean we will have more homeless than ever , i simply can not take the risk of housing them , some of my tenants have bullying partners, drug & drink problems and the temptation will be to great, to spend the rent and council tax monies, this needs rethinking quick !!!!!!

    Reply
  11. Deven says:

    Hi Dave,

    We spoke when you launched the site.

    I thought that a link to this Universal Credit Calculator might be helpful to your readers.

    http://policyinpractice.co.uk/universal-credit/universal-credit-calculator/

    The site also includes comment pieces and updates as information about Universal Credit is released – for example information on the local government pilots for UC announced by the LGA.

    http://policyinpractice.co.uk/systems/universal-credit-local-government-pilot-prospectus-launched/

    Reply
  12. Mo says:

    I agree with Amanda. I am a very good landlord and look after my tenants, but some tenants just do not have the skills to be able to manage their money and it is not because they would spend their money on say drink/drugs etc. It is because they are of a low IQ and just do not know how to manage. This vulnerable group will end up homeless. I think the paying of rent should go from the government direct to the landlord for unemployed people.

    Reply
    • Stuart says:

      Unfortunately ,when the tenant receives this large amount each month they are (not all tenants ) going to spend the money elsewhere ,as with havering council pay the tenants direct, my tenant hasn’t paid for 3 months , but she has a new car new furniture ,now evicting her ,tenant wants to know why ,so now havering you find her a property ,well done the government you have made the housing crisis worse .

      Reply
  13. J cook, says:

    I think its unfair and quite wrong to say that they have a low IQ, and consider It could be more the case that they could be learning disabled or just suffering other problems, such as domestic violence. I agree that the rent may be better being sent to the landlords directly by such as Housing Services, if not only to stop the money going somewhere else, but also feel that there could be other factors involved , which are making the direction of the money difficult. Also please remember that there are people out there who have a degree but are unable to get a job due to other problems, who may have been put into this category through no fault of their own.

    Reply
    • Alanna Cohen says:

      Learning disabled definition (although there is debate around the definition at the moment) is specifically an IQ of 70 or less. There are many people with a lower than average (100) IQ which does impact on their ability to budget, fill out job applications etc. Obviously, it does not necessarily follow that a person of low IQ (regardless of whether it is low enough to class as a learning disability) will spend their money on drink or drugs. This tends to be more closely (but definitely not exclusively) associated with mental health problems than cognitive abilities. The idea of having tenants pay their own rent does have the potential to be empowering. This empowerment is (according to Lord Freud) the rationale behind the decision. The rationale for this I think is fine if it comes with appropriate education/ support for those that need it. ‘Need’ here may not apply simply to cognitive function but also applies to many who simply have not had the opportunity to develop the skills, including those who have had relatively massive drops in income and just don’t have a clue how to budget at subsistence level. There are also still many people for whom it is simply not appropriate and there certainly needs to be scope for assessing this before significant arrears are incurred.
      At the moment it is the default for private tenants to have their housing benefit paid into their bank accounts. Direct payments to landlords happen when there has been significant rent arrears or when a person has been assessed as vulnerable.
      Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) i.e. housing associations will continue to receive direct payments as the government recognises the need for a reliable income stream. Is there scope maybe for some of our more altruistic type private landlords to become RSLs?

      Reply
  14. Mark Rodgers says:

    David,

    Very nice site – it is obvious how much work you have put into this.

    I have posted an introduction to your site from my Google Plus account: see http://tinyurl.com/btoly4k

    Keep up the good work

    Warm regards

    Mark Rodgers
    http://gplus.to/markrodgers

    Reply
  15. worker says:

    As a self employed new start up dependent on WTC and Housing benefit for survival I am very concerned about UC and the income calculation . Why not use the same calculation as HMRC? I work long and hard and I reinvest everything I get to grow my business. So last year I took more than I’ve ever earned in paid work ( I have 3 degrees, no pension, depression, deafness and no prospect of getting or keeping a paid job) and I made a loss because I invested in tools and stock. I could have just spent it – it requires a lot of willpower to see hundreds of pounds pass through your hands and dress from our 99p charity shop you know. None of this investment , either of time or moneyis counted by the current Housing Benefit ‘income’ calculation, which is so complex and perverse that it even shocked my accountant, and it looks like it will not be counted under UC either. I believe in my business and hope to turn a profit and earn me a living wage in the next few years. Many large companies make a loss some years and a profit the next. Their investments in stock and capital is accepted as normal- so why should mine not be? It seems to me that the present government is only paying lip service to ‘entrepreneurship’ , and is guilty of double standards which penalise the poor and those who really are pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. My business is progressing slowly because I will not take a loan or credit – not a model encouraged by banks or business start-up advisors, but to me it is a source of pride and independence. I feel this has been taken from the employed and unemployed poor with little or no chance of making a living except by manipulating the absurdities of the welfare state – what would you expect?- and Universal credit is in no way addressing this fundamental issue. I hope to be lucky and make my business succeed before being forced to either starve or give it up, so I’m well motivated, but if I fail, I and many many others will be forced to join the growing ranks of the unemployed fruitlessly pursuing unpaid work experience to add to the 35 years of paid work experience I already have.

    Reply
  16. Gill Hughes says:

    40 years ago I was a single mother on benefits. We didnt have housing benefit then. I paid my rent out of the money I received from Social Security. If someone could research this – there was a reason why housing benefit was introduced in the first place. Now this government wants to go back 40 years. Benefits are not given to us out of the kindness of strangers – they have been fought for by ordinary people.
    If we have to fight to keep what we have, then we must. I agree to simplify a system but having read abut UC I am not sure it is simpler. It probably will result in a lot more homelessness.

    Reply
  17. Anita Allen says:

    I work for an organisation that supports adults with Learning Disabilities. Within my service, we help with money & budgeting, benefits etc and try to ensure that their bills get paid. All of the people we support have housing benefit of some degree and this is paid straight to the landlord. If this didn’t happen, a majority of these people would be in severe rent debt and even evicted from their homes due to rent arrears. Many of them have other priorities with how to spend their money and would rather fritter it away than use it to pay their rent. There is also another issue in regards to direct debits. Some of the people we support have bank accounts that do not support having direct debits/standing orders. Others will only operate with cash as they do not like anyone taking money from their accounts. I believe that Universal Credit is a good idea, but there should be still the option to pay Housing Benefit direct to the landlord, otherwise I can see many more people being taken to court and losing their homes.

    Reply
  18. kevin c says:

    How can this Universal credit be introduced, I see it as both unfair and discriminative to people who suffer with, mental illness.
    The Government, as we are aware of, want to introduce a DIGITAL BENEFIT, where one has to apply for, and monitor, Benefits online.
    This immediately raises concerns for me, as people who suffer with mental and physical illnesses, most who are in receipt of some form of benefit, cannot operate a computer/laptop.
    Also, I find, that most people( not all ) in receipt of a benefit cannot afford to buy a computer/laptop, or pay the monthly subscriptions to an internet provider…..on the pittance they receive to live on, which, this government is trying to reduce constantly.
    So, IF this government introduce the Universal Credit in October 2013,As is expected, will they be supplying everyone who is in receipt of a benefit, with a computer/laptop and pay the monthly subsciption fees to the internet provider, after all it is this Government that wishes to bring in the DIGITAL BENEFIT.

    Reply
  19. kevin c says:

    All benefits are to be collated together, and paid as ONE benefit, into a claimants bank account, once a month.
    Housing Benefit, J.S.A…..E.S.A and the rest…will be put together and paid as one.
    I have read that benefits being paid directly to a landlord (H/B) will cease, and it will be paid to the claimant directly, via bank account.
    Most, not all, of people who are in receipt of a benefit suffer with an addiction, alcohol / drugs …..so can you see the scenario, addicts receiving their benefits once a month ( in excess of £1,000)….it would be like a child in a sweet shop.
    Rents will not be paid, arrears would escalate whilst the landlord/lady applies through the courts for for possession of the property, sometimes taking up to 3 months.
    Landlords / ladies would lose thousands, if not hundreds of thousands.

    Reply
  20. Drew says:

    I’ve bookmarked this site as a resource of Universal Credit articles and I thank you for creating it.

    I get the impression that the thinking behind inducing poverty will create a society of job seekers. More likely is the fact that desperate people take desperate measures and an increase in crime is inevitable.

    Reply
  21. Michael Lloyd says:

    Nice site, very useful

    Sorry to be pedantic but should it not be ‘Your’ views. Or am I missing something?

    Reply
  22. julie says:

    im rather shocked to find out that uc will also impact on part time employees if they are on national minimum wage.

    i work part time 16 hours per week,i have never not worked ever and have never claimed any unemployment benefits.i am unable to increase my hours as i have a disabled child.

    i have had the same job for 8 years my boss is extreamly helpfull with regards flexability due to my child we have a very good respectful relationship that works both ways but he will not under any circumstances pay more than he has to,nor will he increase offered hours.

    i have been told today that because i only work 16 hours at nmw i will be told i have to attend meetings at the job center and go on any interview they tell me to,even if i am surposed to be at work,and that they can also require me to accept a job with more hours even if they are not ‘contracted hours’ that compels me to be availible when ever the employer wants me to be so cant keep my other job or get another one to make up the hours and apparently they also want to push through a law that says an employer can offer me a job subject to me not having any employment rights! so i may have to quit a job where im promised the hours and protected by law from exploitation have flexability to care for my child and if i dont i will be sanctioned,what about all the zero hour contracts that are the norm in lower paid employment would i be sanctioned if i refuse to accept one?

    it seams very very wrong to treat working people like people who have never worked and use the same rules for both.

    Reply
  23. Carolyn Cumber says:

    Absolutely no incentive for a disabled home owner to work. Also no long term protection for a lone parent home owner. Example a lone parent with children between 5 – 13 seem to have no more than two years protection with mortgage interest. Crazy considering mortgage rates are lower than rents. So ultimately they will end up driving disable or lone parents to sell their homes into rented and it will cost the system more. I know there is arguements about it being an investment. Think of all the greedy landlords making from rents being paid by the state.

    Reply
  24. Marian says:

    Dreading the introduction of UC. The Government are expecting to extend the payment to monthly, from fortnightly. Will that be every month or every 28 days, if you are paid monthly you will have 4 weeks less money each year as some months have 5 weeks in them and some 4, not being sarcastic just think how much better off the government will be if they get 4 weeks for each family on UC They also want you to access them on the internet, can anyone remember the billions that was spent on computer systems for collection of maintenance from absent parents, also billions spent on failed computer systems by the government on the NHS. I dont feel confident that this system will work, I can see lots of people being out of pocket and probably waiting weeks without money, already in poverty. But the Government will send over a billion to Rawada. Why is the government cutting our benefits and claiming austerity measures and can send this sort of money abroad, charity begins at home

    Reply
  25. lorraine says:

    I filled out the form you can online , and thanks to this i will be £40 a week worse off, what is the point in working, as I filled it out not working and im better off, why cant they leave it the way it is , and penalise those who have never worked, and dont intend to ever work,.

    Reply
  26. sharon says:

    its what will bring this government down its is doomed to fail there are not enough hours or jobs available big companies are going into administration every week at least this government will not be in power for a long long time after this

    Reply
  27. Linda says:

    There are areas of this country where the only internet connection available is via a satellite subscription. Public transport is sparse; understandably governed by demand. Oh and local libraries have CLOSED.

    Rising fuel costs, which include heating, lighting cooking and transportation/insurance/MOT costs often mean that budgeting precludes the LUXURY of an internet connection, satellite connections, tv licence and landline. Have you ever tried to organise a new start to life on a £10 pay-as-you-go-mobile? It’s well nigh impossible. So what is the ‘ poverty line’ now based upon? It includes tv.

    Using the internet and telephone there are discounts to be had. Rail tickets can be prebooked in advance for half price, bus passes can be bought and updated via online account. The train journey to the local centre in which the library has not closed ….can be halved…during off peak hours.

    What really bothers me in all this is the word ‘ expect’.

    A lot of people expect the state to fund them, expect to have families which other people will pay for, expect to be looked after in old age, expect to be treated in hospital, expect ‘the Council’ to clear up litter, expect the bins to be emptied on a particular day, expect that there wll be bread on the shelves and petrol in the pumps.

    Yes, citizens have responsibilities, we are occupying the same small place in this planet and inhabiting the same social structure.

    I am very concerned that a small phrase…..
    ….. expect claimants to maintain and update their claims via internet…
    seems to have slipped through whilst Professors debate the ability of the state infrastructure to deliver the new system.

    When I walk into a Government Department or Public building there are signs and signposts in a multitude of languages. There is guidance for the blind. There is augmentation for the hard of hearing. There is extra time for the Dyslexic and Dsyspraxic. There is help with grammar! There are ramps for those who need assistance with access. There are wider and larger transportation vehicles and facilities for bariatric clients. For those with gender concerns there are separate or unisex water closets, and specific changing rooms.

    What happerns if internet access is difficult?

    What happens if people are living in circumstances where personal control over household finances is an issue?

    What happens to people for whom it really IS difficult.

    Most of all – what will our governement ””EXPECT”’ next? This is dictorial.

    This has bothered me for years – Facebook. Twitter. Get onilne. I have many relatives/friends who dont have the internet. Will this now feature in the ‘poverty’ index? Will they get an allowance??

    Internet access is a little different to walking down the road or round the corner to your local bank or post office to open an account.

    These are my thoughts.

    Reply
  28. Shane says:

    I was wondering who receive the monthly payments. I work full time and my wife receives CTC I get WTC. My wife is not very good with money to be honest and spends it v quickly on the children as she is a loving mum. We would not survive the month in bread, milk and cereal etc if we cant buy it daily or weekly.
    I would suggest approaching major supermarket s for a prepay card that people can credit out of their money thats non transferable and not allowing alchohol or tabacco.

    Also imagine the wage earner was a gambler and the family didnt see any money but the other parent was good with money.

    I find the same with fuel because fuel varies from week to week depending on circumstances etc.

    Schools crop up with we need this and that or your childs excluded but if your on certain benefits they get everything covered eg dinners trips uniforms. How can you budget with a torn pair of shoes mid month. As you can tell I have no savings and I am not likely to ever be in that position its called breadline.

    No matter what name you call it the problem will always be there.

    Up working income and reduce the price on consumables. Bring on nanotechnology free water heating and electric power cars.

    Reply
  29. Shane says:

    I have another issue with payment dates will it work on the last working day of the month or last Friday for eg.

    Bank payment dd only work properly on a static day for example 1st of every month.

    Banks need to be told they cant hold the country to ransom anymore and allow 365/366 days transactions in and out of our accounts. We should scrap dd altogether and work on a debit card system of instant transactions. If payday loans can do it why can’t everybody follow suit.

    Reply
  30. ellie says:

    firstly Kevin ive just had to reply to your comment.
    how do you come to the conclusion that ‘most’ people on benefits have an addiction. have you researched this or have you got figures to support your suggestion.
    i have spent many years working in a social care setting and have to say that you are spouting a load of judgemental and ill informed rubbish.
    only a small proportion of benefit claimants have an ‘addiction’. as do people who arent on benefits. not all benefit claimants are scroungers or spongers as is so often suggested. yes there are some and hopefully the changes in the benefit system will stop making it beneficial for people to stay at home and just claim benefits without any thought of getting a job.
    the benefit system needs to be fairer so that people who have had to give up work due to ill health, or have lost their job through no fault of their own, are offered the financial support they need and to ensure they are not in a worse financial state than people who may never have worked. i know these groups of people can be worse off because i am in that position now, having had to give up my job due to having a longterm illness
    i am worse off getting contribution based esa than friends i have who havent worked. i dont get help with my mortgage, i dont get free dental, prescriptions, or glasses and i still have to pay a lot of my council tax. my friends on IR esa get all this and any rent paid for. the system needs to be fairer.
    i am not saying the new system will be perfect. in fact it may be far from perfect. we need a system that supports people who are unable to work, that supports people who have a disability.
    the monthly payment will make it easier to budget. i accept this will be difficult for people who are use to having rent paid direct to landlord, not paying council tax. im sure some people will spend the whole monthly payment within a couple of days
    unfortunately they is no ‘one size fits all’ benefit system. the benefit bill is growing out of all proportion and needs to be altered. i hope the government will carry out regular reviews of UC to ensure that people who really need the help will get it

    Reply
  31. Dawn says:

    I think the new universal credit will stop alot of fraud as taxi drivers are one of the worst, most of them dont pay tax or ni and declare they are on low wages so thay get full benefits and full tax credits

    Reply
  32. Mr Jim Brown says:

    UNIVERSAL CREDIT UNION
    This is one of those projects that looks better on paper than it does in reality. This idea could set the poorest working classes back a hundred years or more. This project is for them to start budgeting their money for when they get back to work and receive a wage again. In the majority of cases, it won’t work, priorities will differ from home to home. There are four main elements involved: Rent, Rates, Food and Power.
    In some homes, some parents will skimp on meals to make sure they can pay the reant but try telling that to the children, they will still want their kind of food they have been used to, that will be their priority. The power ; that will rank last in most young families, especially if there aren’t any old people living there but they will still need power, more so in the winter months. Any luxuries, are a no go area, there are no allowances for them. Don’t forget most of them will have less income, due to ‘The Bedroom Tax’.
    As for those who don’t make paying their rent and rates a top priority, they will be faced with eviction, now this will cost the councils a lot of extra money over the year, plus the shortfall in the total rents that they have to pay the government, means less money the government will pay back to the councils for the upkeep of their housing stock. This will become a never ending circle every year.
    Now what will happen to the families that are evicted? If the council have another council house to accommodate them, then in most cases, the whole problem will start all over again. So where can these people go? There are no workhouses to place them in (not yet anyway). There’s one thing about these evictees, They won’t be carrying much baggage, for all their furniture will have been retained, to help pay off some of their rent arrears. So I can only see most of them finishing up on the streets.
    Do we really want to go back to the beginning of the last century?
    I can only see this leading to a large upsurge in crime, especially shoplifting and burglary.

    Reply
  33. Alan McClary says:

    This new Universal credit is suposed to make things FARER however looking at it it seems that I will still get NO unemployment benefit . I made the mistake of actually working all my life , paying my own way , never having a loan , saving my money , buying my own house and living within my means . Now at the age of 58 I have been made redundant and the system into which I have paid all my life pays me £72.00 per week for 6 months and now I get NOTHING . HOW IS THAT FAIR ???

    Reply
  34. Claire Wilson says:

    I’m very worried for my mother through this process, she is 59 and was on lower disability allowance due to her arthritis and the level of pain and movement she can make. She recently attended an ATOS assessment and was told she was awarded 0 points (of which she needed 15 to remain in her current plan). Having had to take a day’s leave to take her to the assessment which was 15miles away as she could not travel herself due to her ailment and mental capacity to find the location (even I got lost!) and attend the assessment, we got to the appointment having been told there was a 3hour wait and only 3 people in the waiting room. Having said we would wait we actually only waited an additional 10minutes to our appointment time – other people chose not to wait!

    The assessment itself was extremely basic and was a check list of minor activities (lift your arm about your head and touch your nose). Upon receiving the response we were told my mother was no longer eligible for her claim. Having reviewed this report it stated a lot of untruths and tended to manipulate certain aspects of what my mother had said, they were also leading questions in the assessment which confused my mother. Although only a young age (I work with people who are older than my mother) she has the mental and physical ability of a more senior citizen (and I mean no offence to them).

    I have now started the appeal process however I am now under undue stress worried that my mother with lose her home as the rent is 248 per fortnight for a 1 bedroomed bungalow with a community warden to aid and help. My mother has now gone into a depression and I’m stuck what to do next. The websites are not very user friendly, from what I can work out she will have to go onto job seekers allowance of £70pw and have to pay her own rent and council tax, this means she can’t even afford her rent let alone to feed herself or pay her bills.

    Can anyone advise or help me? Surely this can’t be how we are treating our elderly, I couldn’t even employ my mum to clean my house let alone work a full time job – not that I could afford that either!

    Reply
    • Claire, get your mum to ring the CAB. They’ll be able to help her work out her next steps. I see no reason why she won’t get Housing Benefit, but best she talks in detail to someone qualified to advise.

      Reply
  35. Hi David
    I have put a link to your site on my list of resourses. My particular interest is Universal Credit as it affects the self-employed – it’s all here:
    permaculturehouseintotnes.co.uk/1/post/2013/03/universal-credit-and-the-self-employed.html …
    I’d be interested to know if this is your take on how the rules will be applied.

    I’ll have a proper read of your site over the next few days and see if there is anything I can conribute that you haven’t already covered.

    Cathy

    Reply
  36. Hi David
    I have put a link to your site on my list of resourses. My particular interest is Universal Credit as it affects the self-employed – it’s all here:
    http://www.permaculturehouseintotnes.co.uk/1/post/2013/03/universal-credit-and-the-self-employed.html
    I’d be interested to know if this is your take on how the rules will be applied.

    I’ll have a proper read of your site over the next few days and see if there is anything I can conribute that you haven’t already covered.

    Cathy

    Reply
    • Hi Cathy
      I have a put a link to your excellent article in the blog post Universal Credit and the self employed – I’m sure it will prove to be an excellent resource for our readers.

      David

      Reply
      • Thanks David, that is very kind of you. I’m just reading through the other regulations, so there may be more soon – about the technicalities of claiming, reporting and payment, and transitional provisions from other benefits to UC. (Not the most riveting of reads…)

        Reply
  37. onbenefits says:

    I am on benefits, i have a learning disability which i do not let it hinder me, and i have two disabled children, two children without disabilities and another with dyslexia that requires an hours worth of private tutoring as the school does not do a very good job to help her move forward. I claim DLA for 1 child only and carers allowance for myself. I am also studying for a Batchelors Degree in English literature so that I can eventually go back out to work and earn a nice sum to support us all. We live in a council rented 3 bed house in Sussex, and I will be affected by the Universal Tax Credit system. I do not moan about it though, in fact Im quite excited about it, and although I will be taking a ‘cut’, Im hoping it will help me be a bit more financially organised. My learning disabilities makes bill payments hard for me to organise, so I have opened up another account, ready to be able to make direct debits where i have no need to go in and withdraw monies. I have applied for as many supermarket bonus cards that will help me lower costs during shopping, i have picked up some saving cards for supermarkets, invested in a second hand chest freezer. reduced our shopping labels from named brands to value brands, made an appointment with the smoking nurse so i can quit smoking. I dont drink, i have never gone out for the night in over 6 years, I am a single mum, i dont have my hair or nails done, i dont do luxuries I cannot afford. In fact my idea of a naughty night in, is a tub of reduced ben and Jerrys ice-cream and a film. we do have sky, and we do have internet. I have disconnected my home phone, but do own a mobile as i need to be accessible to schools for my children. my children attend after school clubs, but they are allowed one each only. we have pets, whose food has also been changed to lower costs. we own a car, which i changed to a lower litre. I have also gone to a government run consolidation company, that dont charge fees, to help me with my debts. I have made changes in my lifestyle, as said above, so then when the change happens, yes it may hurt for a few months, but it will not cripple me. I am a greatful benefit scrounger, I do not want to be on benefits, but I am greatful for what i have and get.
    I wont pretend to understand all the political jargon that has been said above my comment, but i do see a lot of ungratefulness, and alot of fretting. Maybe, things can be said to us simpletons, a bit plainer, a bit of reassurance, a bit of help with how we can prepare for the change within our lifestyles, sort of like what I have done above. but to those who will be affected with a decrease in money, start adjusting now, start preparing, we have been given alot of time to do this. put a separate account aside to make a small amount of savings in, so during the changeover, you have money to fall back on.
    I have been on benefits for years (i am ashamed to say), and because of the money i received i got accustomed to small luxuries such as tv, internet, named brand foods. I just try to remember each time im struggling, what did they have 50 years ago. I think our government has been more than generous

    Reply
  38. Andrew Staden says:

    This is a comment I made on the Guardian letters page a week or two ago. I also used it on the Telegraph letters page two weeks ago since I wasn’t minded to write the same piece twice.

    “Universal Credit is as dumb as the bedroom tax is evil. It will not work. It has no prospect of working. In its application it will not work because of its massive scale, incorporating benefits now paid by HMRC (tax credits), the Dept for Work and Pensions (Jobseekers’ Allowance) and local councils (housing benefit). Anyone who thinks all these departments and payments can be merged and paid by one gargantuan computer system connecting multiple departments is living in La-La Land. IT WILL NOT WORK. The government hasn’t the competence, it never pays enough for in-house technical (IT) staff to get the most able and it never pays for the best outside contractors, always accepting the lowest bid when it goes out to tender.

    But more than its technical problems, Universal Credit will not work because it is asking the least able people in the country, some of them unemployed due to mental health issues, to cope with monthly budgeting AND paying their rents themselves, whereas at the moment housing benefit payments are made direct to landlords. Moreover, it should self-evident to anyone with more than a half-inch of brain that millions of households across the UK have keys and cards for their electricity and gas meters because they cannot budget weekly and fall into arrears! If they cannot cope with two services costing £10 or so each week, how in the name of sweet bleeding Jesus does the government expect them to cope with the monthly budgeting of ALL their outgoings. It is difficult to put into words how insane this project is, or what an absurd waste of taxpayers’ money it will prove to be. It is a third-form project which some idiot, whose initials are IDS, has been bonkers enough and ignorant enough to try to roll out for real. It is certain – certain – to fail. That might not matter so much since no-one gives a tinker’s damn about Iain ‘Duncan’ Smith, except perhaps Mrs Smith: what does matter is that hundreds of thousands or millions will suffer immeasurably whilst this car-crash unfolds in front of us. The government’s welfare reforms have already resulted in at least two suicides since they went live, and probably more; and Universal Credit promises to be as devastating as all the others put together.”

    Reply
  39. Andrew Staden says:

    There is a final paragraph to my comment above which I left off, but it might be useful:-

    “I told my MP – Jonathan Djanogly – this would not work last year and again in February this year. It will not work and even divine intervention will not breathe life into this bastard child of Iain ‘Duncan’ Smith. Universal Credit, to misquote Blackadder, comes straight from Satan’s bottom, and our genius ‘Welfare’ Secretary has wasted a fortune of our money on it. Well, good riddance to him.”

    Reply
  40. KELLY ROBERTS says:

    I am a Mum of one son age 5 at school and due to have my second baby at the end of November
    .My husband works 40 hours at a factory and earns approx 15,500 per year
    I started work as a part time registered Childminder almost 3 years ago and intend to return part time to this role when my statutary maternity pay ends in June next year.
    I have heard that the self employed will be affected quite significantly and that expenses Childminders have been allowed to deduct from income up until now will not be allowed under the Universal Credit rules.

    This seems very unfair as most people go into Childminding in order to earn money while still being able to care for their own children (even though as I have found… this is not always in the best interests of their own children as my son has found it very hard to share his Mum and home with other people’s children at times!) This is why I choose to only take on minimum children and work only part time hours in order to make plenty of time for my own child/ren.

    Because I choose as a self employed Childminder to work part time and not to fill my spaces so i am working to full adult-child ratio (In the best interests of my own children, the minded children and myself) I claim Child Tax Credit and Working tax credit as my husband is also on a low wage for full time hours… when my second baby is born in November the amount we receive under current benefit rules will increase although I will still return to work as a childminder but doing fewer hours than i currently do (probably 16 hours a week where as before I was doing 27.)

    However if the new Universal Credit comes in and I find that I lose money from the working tax and child tax benefits (as they are now) will I be forced to

    a: take on more minded children up to full adult:child ratio and/or for more hours a week ?

    b:Give up working altogether and try and manage on the Universal Credit alone that we’ll receive on top of husbands wage?. or

    c:Will I be forced to find an employed position and have to put my new baby and 5 year old into child care while I work?

    I don’t expect to live on handouts but I do believe that young children need their Mums to care for them as much as they can especially in their earliest years 0-3/5 years. The current system for Childminders and workers in general seems to work very well and be fair for those who want to strike a good balance between working and family responsibilities as it allows wages to be topped up with the child and working tax credits. (Not the same as families where parents both want to work as little as possible if at all and still get benefits to support them!)

    Also as I said earlier Childminders go into the business wanting to contribute to the household income but still being able to stay at home and care for their own child/ren. Also obviously Childminders are very important as they are their to help lots of other parents go out to work, especially those who prefer a more relaxed home from home environment for their children as opposed to a more formal setting of a nursery.

    If anyone can help with my questions I would be very greatful as I am quite worried about how the Universal Credit is going to affect my work and young family.

    Reply
  41. Adrian Stapleton says:

    Universal Credit has a set taper rate of 65%. For every £1 earned, there will be a 65p reduction in the amount received from the state. So as a married man with 3 children:

    I don’t work, I get the maximum £500 a week.

    I do work, I earn £300 a week.
    I then loose £60 in tax and national insurance,
    I then loose £195 from the taper rate,
    I then loose £33.75 In free school dinners for my three children (not included in universal credit),
    I then loose £16.00 council tax benefit (not included in universal credit),
    I then loose approx. £17.50 getting to and from my job (that’s a bus, not the car)

    I pretty sure I just lost £22 a week to go to work, did I go wrong somewhere?

    Reply
  42. Andrea says:

    I have capital in respect of an additional property it is half mine and half my ex =we just put a tenant in but I dont make any money from it it just breaks even for the moargage – i think that I dont get anything with universal credit as I ahve 2 small kiddies and I dont work at the moment as the kids are really small and im on my own so how do i pay my rent on where i live and my community charge and food off 134 a month child benefit ONLY ?

    Reply
  43. Shaun says:

    I am a very concerned citizen who has recently applied for universal credit as it has replaced the current JSA. I think that this new benefit scheme is fundamentally flawed. How is it that you expect me a person who has just came out of full time education and is struggling to find a job, search for 35 hours a week when I do not receive a penny of this benefit until after a month. Furthermore, how is it that you expect me to travel to the nearest job centre for an interview every week to show I’m doing 35 hours a week if I’m having to spend 3 hours of that 35 hours walking to and from the job centre since I don’t have money for transportation. My next issue is that my mother has now had to apply for this universal credit scheme after the widows pension allowance has finished and she had to come back onto her carers allowance. How in the hell is it sane for you to state that a parent of 2 disabled adolescents, who can’t do things for themselves, go to the job centre and prove she is looking for work when she is a full time carer for 2 disabled? You really need to revise this scheme as it’s clearly not working and a lot of people are annoyed and fed up with this new government scheme. I hope you take the time to read through this e-mail and reply to me as I would like to hear how you can justify such a fundamentally flawed system conjured up by a bunch of egotistical money grabbers who expect people to live on less money when in fact they get a pay raise every year. How is that fair?

    Reply
    • KJ says:

      Shaun,

      this website is not connected to the jobcentre/government/benefit office.
      there are indeed many flaws with the new universal credit.
      you could try e-mail your local MP outlining your family’s case.

      Reply
  44. Sainbury’s Bank money matters blog have created a useful guide to credit scores, it’s an excellent visual guide and should hopefully be useful to our readers
    https://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/guide-to-credit-scores.shtml

    Reply
  45. I have recently applied for Universal Credit and I am very unhappy with the new scheme:-

    You need to wait 5 weeks for payment; you ask for credit advance but this will leave you in debt. I much prefer the 2 weeks payment because people know where they stand and can plan their money more wisely.

    The staff on the Universal credit, not them all but most do not let you speak and treat you like someone out of prison on the Universal Credit line. I have been told around 4 times to shut up all I will end the call. I have asked to speak to the Manager and they have put the phone down. I have been upset on many times.

    When I signed on to their website; they then give you a call but the call is so stressful because they speak to you as if they are bullying you and will not allow you to speak. As I said the call is very stressful and I spoke nicely and they told be to shut up. The customer service is very poor and I feel like a person in a prison outfit for Universal Credit and I must stand in line and not say a word and just answer the questions how every stressful.

    At the jobcentre; you do not get any private cubicles at all they shout at you if you have not done what they say and embarass you infront of the whole room. The staff get a kick out of seeing you embarassed and this is a form of belitting you. As I am a 39 year old woman I feel very upset and often feel like running away and I do not want to claim even though I have worked all my life and never claimed for a while. They exclaimed, why have
    you not applied for the jobs at £6.50 per hour we have posted to you. Provide proof of what you have been doing. I tried to explain that I am new to the Universal credit and I forgot to print all my emails out and they would not accept my response and I also said can I come back this afternoon and provide the proof. I had to leave the Jobcentre because I was so upset by the bullying behavior of the Jobcentre person. This new system does not give you any information to write your search on. It is all done on a computer system; where they post you jobs and you must apply whatever the job they post even if it is £6.50.

    I am looking for an established career and have only been out of work 3 weeks and I need to apply for anything and sack my career as a Sales Administrator paying £18,000 and go for a £11,830 job. I remember my first salary was as an Office Junior at £11,830. I have always supported myself but I find the new system so stressful and everyday I cry and would like to commit sucide than go on the Universal Credit. I apply for many jobs and I very much do like to work as I feel I have no life at the moment being out of work.

    For the first time in my life, I cannot see why people are not striking about this new policy agreement for Universal Credit as I feel I no faith in the government any more and very concerned how people manage especially with new 1 bedroom house rules. My last flat I had was a housing association and it was £380 per month, the terraced property I am living in is £400.00. Why do I need to pay £50.00 towards it. I do not mind paying £20.00. Also the 20% contribution of Council tax from your Universal Credit which does not get deducted where it leaves again vulnerable people in difficulty with the management of money.

    Where will I stand in a couple of weeks homeless I think ?

    Reply
  46. Stephanie says:

    I live with my mother who is disabled. We are in a bungalow, there is myself, my mother and my sister.

    The bungalow belongs to a housing association, and because my mother is disabled, she gets the relevant benefit to survive on.

    I have recently started full time work, my benefit was UC (for ONE WEEK ONLY AS I GOT THE JOB A WEEK AFTER I CLAIMED) as I too was unwell. Now my mother has had a letter saying her rent will not be paid as I am claiming UC.

    No, I’m not. I’m working!! I have proven this with wage slips, yet the council have conveniently lost them, my bank statements too. I don’t earn a lot per week (agency). I am paying basically all of my weekly wage in rent, so we don’t get evicted. I called UC who have now said my claim has been terminated which it should have been as soon as I notified them I am working.

    Please can anyone advise? I am worried to death, and can barely eat or sleep and this is affecting my work.

    Reply

Trackbacks for this post

  1. Universal Credit and the Self Employed | PermaHeretic
  2. Universal Credit needs your input | Universal C...

Leave a Comment

Design by Areoff

Universal Credit Privacy & Cookies Policy