Mind urges DWP to delay Universal Credit roll-out

The National Audit Office (NAO) has released a damning report into Universal Credit (UC) – with a focus on how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has not done enough to protect and support "vulnerable claimants" including disabled people and people with health conditions.

The report says that because of the pressures of delivering UC, staff "lacked the time and ability to identify claimants who needed additional support’ and ‘felt overwhelmed by the volume of claimants reporting health problems’. The report also says that the DWP’s resistance to making changes ‘gives the unhelpful impression of a Department that is unsympathetic to claimants."

The NAO has recommended that the Government does not expand the roll out of Universal Credit to existing claims (including over 1m people with mental health problems currently receiving Employment and Support Allowance) until it has fixed problems with the system.

Separate research released by the DWP last week found that one in four Universal Credit claimants reported having a health condition that significantly affected their day to day lives. It also found that:

  • 50% of people with long-term health conditions receiving Universal Credit reported being in financial difficulty and struggling to keep up with bills and credit commitments.
  • Health and disability was the single most common reason why people receiving Universal Credit struggled to meet work search requirements. (This applied to 48% of people who were unable to meet their requirements)
  • Only 30% of people with a long-term health condition said that Universal Credit was easier to claim than other benefits.
Full story: National Mind

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