Inclusion London’s position statement on Universal Credit
Our position on Universal Credit, covering the difficulties caused by the UC system, which can result in Deaf and Disabled people being pushed further into debt and left struggling to pay for basic necessities; our concerns with new draft regulations; and our recommendations.
Download our full position statement here: Inclusion London Universal Credit position statement
Many Deaf and Disabled people are destitute, unable to pay for food, fuel and rent because of the Universal Credit system, as we will evidence in this paper. Therefore we believe that Universal Credit needs to be stopped and scrapped.
Summary of Deaf and Disabled people’s key concerns
Below is a brief description of difficulties caused by the UC system, which can result in Deaf and Disabled people are pushed further into debt and left struggling to pay for basic necessities:
- The UC application and communications system is inaccessible for many Deaf and Disabled people unless support is provided, which is in short supply. Without support many Deaf and Disabled people cannot apply for UC so will be without their main benefit and will struggle to pay bills.
- The 5 week waiting period compounded by additional delays in first payments.
- The imposition of sanctions, which stops benefit payments.
- Harsher UC work related requirements, for instance
- UC recipients have to continue work related activities while on holiday or risk being sanctioned.
- UC recipients in employment have to search for better paid work or more hours so there is no longer a need for UC or risk a sanction.
- Housing benefit element of UC is paid directly to the person receiving UC, which can result in rent arrears. Also private landlords are refusing people in receipt of UC, indirectly discriminating against Deaf and Disabled people.
- Single payments for a household puts some Disabled people, especially Disabled women at risk of financial abuse, which can compound the risk of other types of abuse.
- Deaf and Disabled people are worse off under UC than under previous benefits even though the government promised that nobody would lose a penny due to the introduction of UC.
Despite these problems the government is determined to continue with the full roll out of UC.
Concerns with new draft regulations
There are also problems with the proposed new ‘transitional’, ‘managed migration’ 2018 regulations, which put measures in place to move people from legacy benefits to UC. Our key concerns include:
- A monthly payment of £80 is being proposed for people that have lost SDP in similar circumstances to TP and AR, who won a legal challenge. An £80 monthly payment will result in a loss of income for those Disabled people affected.
- Regarding the full rollout of UC: The Jobcentre staff and the DWP will fail to identify Deaf and Disable people/‘people that are ‘vulnerable’ or have ‘complex needs’ who will then be issued with a migration notice and their benefits terminated if they are unable to apply for Universal Credit before their ‘deadline day’.
Summary of recommendations
- The waiting period is scrapped and applications are processed as quickly as possible.
- Welfare conditionality is abolished for Deaf and Disabled people or at a minimum, in line with the UNCRPD Committee’s recommendations the government will:
‘Conduct a review of the conditionality and sanction regimes concerning the Employment and Support Allowance, and tackle negative consequences on mental health and situation of persons with disabilities,’
- In a household where more than one person receives UC, each claimant receives their UC into their own bank account and there are no joint payments to prevent financial abuse.
- Eligibility for Pension Credit remains the same as under legacy benefits.
- All Deaf and Disabled eligible for SDP and EDP receive an equal amount under UC, including new claimants.
- The government implements all of the recommendations made by the UNCRPD Committee regarding all the government’s Welfare Reforms including those below:
‘Carry out a cumulative impact assessment, with disaggregated data, about the recent and coming reforms on the social protection for persons with disabilities…’
‘…implement and monitor measures to tackle retrogression in their standard of living and use it as a basis for policy development across the State party;’
- Re ‘Managed Migration: All Deaf and Disabled people are able to remain on their existing benefits.