Universal Credit

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    MANY MAY STRUGGLE AS A RESULT OF CHANGES TO THE UNIVERSAL CREDIT SYSTEM

    The study envisages the following issues from the move which is expected to save the taxman £1billion a year by 2021:Chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Alison Garnham said:"This cut suggests some children are more important than others."No parent has a crystal ball. Families that can comfortably support a third child today could struggle tomorrow."Children shouldn't suffer on the...

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    CIH SCOTLAND POINTS OUT ISSUES WITH IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEW SINGLE PAYMENT ON UNIVERSAL CREDIT

    Following recent warnings from the Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee about problems with the new Universal Credit system,  CIH Scotland has pointed out some issues with the implementation of the new single payment, such as:The following warnings have also come up as CIH Scotland prepares for its yearly conference which is scheduled to take place at the Scottish Event Campus in...

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    THE LHA CAP WILL APPLY TO ALL TENANTS THAT RECEIVE UNIVERSAL CREDIT

    These details were stated by the government:Lord Freud announced in a ministerial statement that this would "ensure simplicity and a streamlined process". He also said tenants who are moved from housing benefit onto Universal Credit after April 2019 will be protected "in cash terms" under a transitional arrangement.Chief executive at Community Housing Cymru, Stuart Ropke, said:"This policy is...

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    UNIVERSAL CREDIT SET TO EXPAND IN AREAS SERVED BY KIRKINTILLOCH JOBCENTRE

    The beneficiaries of this would have to live within one of these postcodes: G64 4, G66 1, G66 2, G66 3, G66 4, G66 5, G66 7 and G66 8.This entitlement means working age people in these postcodes covered by the scheme will now claim:Those that can benefit from this scheme are as follows:Note:Rhondda Geekie, Council Leader, said "Universal Credit will bring new challenges to those eligible to claim...

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    AFTERMATH OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT DELAYS

    The labour MP also said "the minimum six-week payment period faced by new Universal Credit claimants led to reliance on emergency food parcels, triggered debt and rent arrears, and caused health problems".Field wrote this to the work and pensions secretary, Damian Green, asking him to cut the lengthy and stressful wait for payments faced by penniless claimants:"This is an unbelievably long time...

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    FIRST ERROR AND FRAUD FINDINGS FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT

    The department's findings show that underpayments due to official errors were considerably higher than for the older Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) Programme, however, the rate of overpayments was statistically the same, reports TechWeek Europe.Last year, auditors anticipated that Universal Credit (UC) will be potentially advantageous to the system but its delayed rollout has slowed down the DWP's...

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    Universal credit targets defended by Iain Duncan Smith

    When asked about the effectiveness of the roll-out of universal credit Mr Duncan Smith said: “Universal credit is now available in more than half of jobcentres across Great Britain and will be available in all jobcentres early next year.Nearly 175,000 people have made a claim for universal credit so far. Our evidence shows that the universal credit claimants find work quicker, stay in work...

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    Scottish carers are worse off due to universal credit

    Child Poverty Action Group has sent a report to Scottish and UK ministers urging them to amend the universal credit regime to pay closer heed to Scotland’s systems and use devolved power to protect children and their family carers from poverty, reports Public Finance.The report said support for carers is patchy and sometimes inadequate in Scotland, “despite good intentions”The report’s...

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    Universal Credit claimants rise to almost 90,000

    Figures by the Department for Work and Pensions have found that 89,357 people were claiming universal credit by 9th July which was a rise of 18% compared to 75,426 on 11th June, reports Inside Housing.Of these claimants, 30% were in work and 70% were unemployed.Labour acting shadow work and pensions Stephen Timms said the reform was rolling out at a “glacial rate”. A total of 7.7m households...

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    Scottish government to revamp universal credit

    The Scottish Government has decided it wants to give claimants the choice of having their payments made twice a month rather than just once a month on universal credit, reports Scottish Housing News.They also want the payment of the housing element to be made direct to landlords, for new claimants and where the claimant is renting from a social landlord.In Dundee for a series of events as part of...

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    Foodbank’s concerned people won’t cope on universal credit

    Foodbank organisers are concerned that many clients will struggle to plan their expenditure effectively and are offering classes on how to budget, reports the Manchester Evening News.Michelle Welch, co-founder of the Compassion Foodbank in Moss Side, said: “We’re concerned about the impact of Universal Credit. Suddenly, people will have all of their income in one go and they’ll have to...

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    One in three universal credit claimants paying landlords directly

    Findings have revealed that the government’s intention to have all but a ‘small minority” of claimants paying their benefits for housing costs directly, a large portion of tenants appear to have been judged unable to pay their rent, reports Inside Housing.A National Housing Federation survey of 25 housing associations in May found that 1,082 of 3,009 universal credit claimants were on an...

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    DWP report finds councils are ‘frustrated’ by universal credit

    Research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the DWP and findings said that “lack of clarity” about timescales for the government’s welfare reform was causing “uncertainty” and “preventing certain decisions being made”, reports Inside Housing.The report said: “The biggest challenge… was reported to be a lack of clarity about timescales and future plans from DWP. This...

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    Universal credit will still run smoothly during strike action

    PCS Union members in Bolton and Glasgow are going on strike over the management and introduction of universal credit, reports STV News.The DWP said "only a small minority" of universal credit workers will go on strike, and that "plans are in place to ensure the smooth running of the service and to prioritise payments and priority tasks like housing benefit to ensure a good service to claimants is...

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    Universal credit email change to be rolled out

    A programme piloted by social landlords and the DWP will see universal credit applications move from postal to online, reports Inside Housing.Landlords will now be able to send their APA requests through a secure email system, however they will still receive notice of rental payment from the DWP through the post.Carmel Morris, senior financial inclusion officer at Golden Gates Housing Trust,...

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    Universal credit costs rise by an extra £3bn

    An official report looking into significant government programmes has found that the cost of universal credit has risen by £3bn to £15.8bn in two years, reports the Guardian.The programme has also encountered further delays and is unlikely to be fully implemented until 2020.According to the report, the “total budgeted whole-life costs” of universal credit will be £15.84bn and will be...

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    New pilot scheme to recover universal credit arrears

    Starting last month, the trial is being conducted by social landlords and the DWP, reports Inside Housing.Landlords are able to apply to have rent switched back to them under an ‘alternative payment arrangement’ if a tenant is more than two months in arrears. However this has only been able to occur if a letter is sent through the postal system. Many housing associations have complained that...

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    Benefit change to go ahead against committee’s advice

    The Social Security Advisory Committee, who advise the government, has published a report on the plans alongside the government’s response. Under this new measure claimants will have to wait seven days before they are able to claim universal credit, on top of the month they already have to wait between making a claim and receiving their first payment, reports Inside Housing.The SSAC’s report...

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    Ministers urged to re-boot universal credit

    The Resolution Foundation study supports the principles of universal credit, however it calls for far reaching changes to address “flaws” reports the BBC.This report follows a nine-month review by the think tank."Failure to revisit and revise policies now... would represent a missed window of opportunity that may not present itself again once the system becomes fully bedded in," it says.The...

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    Pilot scheme to challenge universal credit rent arrears

    First Choice Homes Oldham has begun trialling a new programme to help landlords reduce fears that the introduction of universal credit will increase rent arrears, reports Inside Housing.Under the ‘Trusted Partner Status’ pilot, social landlords are able to identify tenants who they believe will be unable to manage their money. Once they have been identified, the DWP will give the tenant an...

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    New review finds flaws with Universal Credit

    A new, and most thorough, expert review has found that universal credit faces significant design problems and will need a serious reform if it is able to meet its original goal of making work pay for many claimants, reports the Guardian.The review has been conducted by Resolution Foundation and chaired by welfare expert Nicholas Timmins. It concluded that for some groups, especially women,...

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    Universal credit system rolled out in Forest of Dean

    Cinderford and Coleford were added to the latest list of locations where the Universal Credit system is in place this week, reports the Gloucester Citizen. To help people struggling with the changes to their benefits staff at the local Citizens Advice Bureau have been given extra training and numerous fact sheets have been prepared."At present Universal Credit only affects newly unemployed single...

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    Universal credit claimants now up to 47,000

    Figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions on Friday 12th March revealed that 46,920 people were claiming universal credit, reports Inside Housing.This means that the number of people claiming universal credit will have to more than double in the next two months if the goal of 100,000 people is to be met.DWP Minister Mark Harper has stated that as recently as February the...

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    Temporary solution for social landlords concerned about universal credit

    DWP officials have notified social landlords to a solution for increasing benefit costs in line with rent increases under the new welfare reforms; however it will only apply for a year. Landlords feared that they'd be left facing benefit payment delays and increased rent arrears, reports Inside Housing.Currently social landlords have to inform the local council of any rent increases who will then...

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    Fewer working hours are better for some on universal credit

    A review has found that welfare reforms are making it more attractive for some people to work shorter hours, reports the Guardian.The review found that the universal credit system's flaw particularly affect single parents, second earners and those who work without having children dependent on the,.The interim report, overseen by Mike Brewer, professor of economics at Essex University, says UC's...

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    Ban on universal credit for EU migrants raises concerns

    Under these new regulations, no EU households will be entitled to benefits without having worked in the UK first, reports 24dash. The DWP say that the move follows actions that have already been taken to halve the amount of time EU jobseekers can claim benefits. It will also mean that if they don't have a job after three months, their right to reside in the UK will be lost.The DWP said: "These...

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    Universal credit support for Scottish parents

    This factsheet is the first of seven being created to support people in Scotland with the changes to their benefits, reports Deadline News.Universal credit should be rolled out to single people with children by April 2016, however if a single claimant subsequently becomes a single parent, they will remain on universal credit.On the factsheet people will be able to see how universal credit is...

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    Welfare reforms blamed for increase in rent arrears in Wales

    Statistics published by the Welsh Government show that 33% of the 221,911 social housing households in Wales were in rent Arrears as of 31st March 2014, represents a 4.8% increase in tenants in arrears the previous year, reports Inside Housing.The Welsh government said: "The increase in both the number and percentage of rent arrears among tenants of social housing during 2013/14 may be...

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    200,000 people will be hit by new universal credit rules

    Social landlords believe that new regulations are likely to lead to increased hardship and evictions, reports Inside Housing.Whilst current universal credit calculations take into account the amount of money a claimant earns a month, the new rules will look into the earnings of the claimant over the previous six months. This will mean that if a person earns a larger amount in one month, but...

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    Report finds DWP has made ‘little progress on universal credit'

    A committee report explains that less than 18,000 people were claiming universal credit by October 2014 compared to the seven million people expected in the long term, reports Inside Housing."We hope the [Work and Pensions] department's expectation that this number will rise significantly by February 2016 proves to be accurate," the chair of the committee Margaret Hodge stated.Ms Hodge also says...

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    20% benefit deduction for tenants who fall into arrears

    The Department for Work and Pensions has said that they will now be able to deduct 20% of a tenant's universal credit payment, if the claimant falls into rent arrears. This 20% would then be paid directly to the Landlord, reports Inside Housing.The department could previously deduct 5& of the universal credit payment. However landlords have expressed concern that tenants will struggle to pay...

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    Research shows 16% of universal credit renters are in arrears after three months

    The figure has been revealed by the Department for Work and Pensions in its universal credit ‘Pathfinder Evaluation' report, reports 24dash.The reports investigates universal credit claimant experiences in the pathfinder areas where initial eligibility criteria has been focused on singled, unemployed, non-home owning claimants who do not have any children.Most of the research was carried out...

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    Universal credit will be rolled out by 2018

    A report by the Department for Work and Pensions has said the results from pilot projects are ‘encouraging', reports the BBC.The DWP had originally promised to have one million people on the new benefits system by April 2014 however the project has suffered numerous delays since its creation.The report presented by Mr Duncan Smith said 14,170 were claiming the credit, which is expected to rise...

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    Housing association prepares tenants for change to benefits

    Rhondda Cynon Taff Homes, which says UC represents the "greatest change to benefits in a generation", will see the new system rolled out in its area next February, reports 24dash.They believe that universal credit could affect almost 6,000 of its tenants and up to 50,000 people in the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taff.In response, RCT Homes launched its '1,2,3...Ready' campaign earlier this year to...

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    Universal credit flaws exposed by social housing tenants

    First Choice Homes Oldham, one of four initial pilots in 2013's roll out of universal credit, found that many of their tenants had suffered multiple frustrations and complications with the system, and many were having to choose between heating or eating, reports 24dash. Carried out via a telephone survey this summer, the data collected from 40% of FCHO's tenants currently on UC found that:•...

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    Universal credit roll out to be sped up

    Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary has said that the welfare reform will be running in all of the country's job centres from early next year, reports 24dash.Mr Duncan Smith claimed that the "significant acceleration" was a "sign of the success of the policy so far. UC is a vision for a new welfare settlement; a welfare state fit for the 21st century; a testament to the hard work...

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    Tenants struggling with universal credit urged to seek help by their social landlord

    Mutual housing society Rochdale Boroughwide Housing has held workshops for over 600 employees so that they will be able to provide support and guidance on universal credit, which is currently being rolled out across Rochdale, reports 24dash. Angela Havens, RBH's head of income and support, said: "As a mutual society we want to help people stay in their homes as this is the best way of building...

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    Social landlords receive more information about universal credit

    Until this new development social landlords were reliant on being informed by their tenants of any switch to the new benefits system, which made it difficult for landlords to provide help to new claimants, reports 24dash.In its consultation document, published today, the DWP said: "The intention is that, under the proposed amendments, social landlords would have responsibility for assessing...

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    Over 11,000 households are now on universal credit

    The latest data released by the Department for Work and Pensions shows this was a rise from 7,460 households in July 2014 and 6,630 in June 2014. The increase is due to the rapid roll out of the programme, the DWP says, reports Inside Housing. The roll out has mainly been in the north west of England and mainly for single claimants with no dependants or disabilities, however some centres are now...

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    Help scheme for universal credit trialled

    The government are trialling a new scheme to help universal credit claimants pay their rent on time by making it easier to access money advice services, reports Inside Housing.The DWP is a piloting a new programme in four job centres across Britain to support claimants undergoing an assessment about their ability to work by directing them towards money advice if they are struggling with their...

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    MP says universal credit is ‘on life-support'

    The shadow minister for welfare reform has taunts Iain Duncan Smith in the House of Commons after the Work and Pensions Secretary has repeated his claim that the ‘full business case' for the new benefits system would be signed off "very shortly" reports 24dash. Chris Bryant said: "The truth of the matter is that this programme-the Secretary of State's pet project-is being kept on a...

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    New universal credit ‘safeguards' by the DWP

    The DWP has been working closely with housing providers and the National Housing Federation to ensure that rent payments are safeguarded under the new benefits system, reports 24dash.Labour MP Frank Field say that these ‘safeguards' have been taken one step further.  Field claims that official figures from the DWP reveal that the department is making payments directly to landlords for over...

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    99% rent collection rate for one housing associations universal credit experiment

    City West Housing Trust decided to set up a trial to see how direct payments to tenants would affect its own residents with universal credit set to fully roll out across the North West of England this year, reports 24dash.City West found that at the end of the trial rent arrears among its 54 voulnteers dropped and rent collection stood at more than 99%. Of the 54 tenants, 43 had been hit by the...

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    New tenant rules for universal credit

    The government is introducing new rules which will allow housing associations the ability to prevent tenants claiming universal credit falling into arrears, reports Inside Housing. A new pilot will be rolled out by the Department for Work and Pensions by Golden Gates Housing trust which job centres can seek permission from tenants to inform their social landlord if the make a new claim for...

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    Staff costs for universal credit ‘unsustainable'

    A Salford-based landlord has found that the cost of managing direct payments of universal credit to prevent arrears could be ‘unsustainable.'City West Housing Trust carried out its own pilot from July 2013 to March this year, to test the direct payment of benefit to tenants ahead of the wider roll-out of universal credit over the next three years, reports Inside Housing.Its results show that...

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    Budgeting support for universal credit claimants outlined by DWP

    The DWP have said: "Universal credit will replace the complex myriad of means-tested benefits and make three million households better off. It will be simpler for people to navigate and harder for people to defraud, but most importantly it will make work pay."The DWP has said that it acknowledges most people can manage their money effectively, but for some putting a monthly household budget...

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    Lord Freud says Universal Credit safeguards are working

    Writing for 24dash, Lord Freud says that through a phased approach, new jobcentres will gradually come online during the remainder of the year until all of the offices across the region will be offering universal credit to single people. The plan was for universal credit to be moved forward in a controlled and careful way as part of a long-term economic plan and soon the benefit will begin to...

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    6,000 are claiming universal credit

    Statistics from the Department for Work and Pensions has showed the government's progress in rolling out the new benefit, which is a combination of several benefits into one payment paid direct to households.The figures show that 5,880 people were claiming universal credit in April, whilst 6,960 claimed it at some point between April 2013 and 30 April 2014. 60% of the claimants on universal...

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    Universal credit ‘deception' denied by Duncan Smith

    Chris Bryant has accused Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith of "beating around the bush" on the issue.Mr Duncan Smith has said the case will be signed off by the Treasury "very soon" and accused Mr Bryant of making the "most pompous, ludicrous statement that I have heard", adding the real issue was "about Labour's failure to come to terms with welfare reform".Margaret Hodge, Labour MP...

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    Universal Credit ‘reset' does not put policy in jeopardy - Lord Freud

    Last month the Major Projects Authority revealed that the government's reform of the benefits system had been ‘reset', however there had been little clarity about what that actually meant, reports 24dash.Lord Freud has said that the decision to "reorganise" universal credit had been taken by Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary who preferred to take a step back rather than...

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    Labour to pause universal credit if elected

    Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves has said her party supported the universal credit policy in principle, and hoped to "rescue" it. She said the Department for Work and Pensions had been in "chaos" under her opposite number, Iain Duncan Smith.The universal credit systems sees six benefits merging into one single payment.In an interview with BBC One's Sunday Politics programme, Ms...

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    Over 5,600 households are now claiming Universal Credit

    Statistics published by the Department for Work and Pensions has revealed the 6,550 households began claiming this new benefit in 2013/14, with 5,610 claiming by the end of March, reports Inside Housing.Universal credit combines numerous existing benefits, such a housing benefit, into one monthly payment.The statistics revealed that 70% of claimants were men and six out of ten were under 25 years...

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    Judge questions the ‘disappearance' of Universal Credit

    Judge Robert Martin has queried whether universal credit "might prove just too impracticable to implement in full" reports 24dash.Judge Martin revealed in the Judicial Information Bulletin, that the DWP is no longer predicating that there will be any universal credit appeals between now and 2019. He states that in its April 2013 forecast the DWP expected there to be 1,355 universal credit...

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    Specialist housing team for universal credit

    This team will provide a dedicated service for social landlords to contact to deal with housing specific issues, such as switching housing benefit payments back to landlords directly where a tenant is in arrears, reports Inside Housing.External affairs manager at the National Housing Federation, Daniel Klemm, has called this move an "evolution".He said: "What's happened previously that the...

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    Universal Credit has been reset

    The Major Projects Authority, the government watchdog responsible for its implementation, has decided that Universal Credit is now a totally new project due to its drastic reconfiguration. The MPA has decided that there have been too many setbacks and now Universal Credit has been sent back to the drawing board, reports 24dash. In its report, the MPA said: "The ‘reset' category has been...

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    Ministers’ Attempts To Slash Fraud And Error In The Benefits System May Be Undermined

    This is due to the indecision over how the housing element of universal credit will work.Nevertheless, local authorities can cross-check claims across range of data relating to other council services, according to reports by Inside Housing.Dame Anne Begg, chair of the committee also said:"Universal credit has the potential over the longer term to substantially reduce fraud and error in the...

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    Online universal credit system will leave many social housing tenants struggling

    Research from the National Housing Federation has discovered fresh concerns that people on low incomes will struggle to access universal credits digital service, with 40% of people have been affected by the changes having no internet access at all.According to 24dash, the report shows: •         30% of tenants would not be confident making a benefit application...

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    Universal credit to be rolled out across North West

    Some areas across the country are already using this new system, which the government claims will bring £35bn of benefits to the economy when it is fully rolled out.As part of the new system, the government has pledged more equipment for jobseekers to search for work online and transform the relationship between claimants and their jobcentre adviser to focus their search for work, reports...

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    Confusion by universal credit means landlords stop renting to welfare recipients

    In February the BPF surveyed 102 landlords with 34% owning over ten properties. The study found that 39% of landlords were in a state of confusion on how the universal credit policy will impact rent arrears and consequently intend to rent to fewer welfare tenants.The BPF has warned that landlord groups, NGOs and the government should all act to reduce the uncertainty of the impact of universal...

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    Committee of MPs accuse the government of "hampering" its scrutiny of Universal Credit

    The government, however, has said that it has given "regular updates" to MPs and its plans were being implemented in a "slow, controlled and safe" fashion, reports BBC.In the latest report by the cross-party committee it says that there remains a "worrying uncertainty" over the computer systems being developed to implement the reforms.Problems with IT systems underpinning the project came to...

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    Cuts to councils temporary housing funding

    Research has suggested that cuts to the funding of council-owned temporary accommodation which will cost local authorities across the UK millions of pounds. At the moment councils use their own housing stock as temporary housing and pay for the accommodation themselves. They can later claim the money back from the Department for Work and Pensions through a rent ‘rebate' system, reports Inside...

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    Charities talk to discuss with DWP effects of Universal Credit and define ‘exempt accommodation’

    Homeless Link, Sitra, Women's Aid, National Housing Federation and the Charted Institute of Housing have been in close discussion with DWP to try and identify a solution to the affect Universal Credit is having and to define exempt accommodation.The group discussed that currently the cost of supported accommodation, hostels and shelters, which are important for supporting those with...

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    Many tenants still uncertain about Universal Credit

    A survey by the National Landlords Association found that half of those who took part said that whilst they are aware of Universal Credit, they don't fully understand what it means. 21% of respondents said that they were completely unaware of Universal Credit and only 30% said that they fully knew about the changes and what to expect.Universal Credit will see six existing benefits merge into one...

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    Universal Credit guides on Red Button and Wii

    The Department for Work and Pensions have said that they hope these measures will help reach the seven million people who do not have access to the internet, reports the BBC. Universal Credit merges six benefits into one, and the plan is for most claimants to be moved on to it by the end of 2017.Information on the Universal Credit scheme can already be accessed by some digital TV viewers by...

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    Universal Credit programme will not hit 2017 deadline

    Following on from the Chancellor's delivery of the Autumn Statement, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has announced that the Universal Credit programme may not be complete by 2017 as planned.It was only September when Iain Duncan Smith told the Commons that the 2017 plan remained in place.  He has now said some people receiving Employment Support Allowance may not be transferred in...

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    Universal Credit is facing further criticism

    The Commons Public Accounts Committee has said that the oversight of the Universal Credit scheme had been "alarmingly weak". Warning signs have been missed and a "fortress culture" has been claimed among officials. Criticisms by the cross-party committee echo those by the National Audit Office who have said that the management of the £2.4bn project had been weak and financial controls had been...

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    Universal Credit's next phase begins

    Hammersmith and Fulham are the latest UK councils to start trials of Universal Credit. Eventually there will be 8 million households on the new scheme, however a larger roll-out was meant to be have started this month but the process suffered management and computer issues which has hindered its progress.Six councils were supposed to sign up from October however only Hammersmith and Fulham are...

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    Millions will struggle with money management under Universal Credit

    Universal credit will see people receiving their benefits once a month rather than the current once a fortnight. The Payments Council have, who oversee bank and card payments in the UK, carried out a survey on claimants in the last months and have said that 2.7m current claimants will struggle with their finances due to this change.The Payments Council found that many claimants were worried about...

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    More trouble for universal credit

    It has emerged that the Department of Work and Pensions could write off up to £161m spent on IT systems for the welfare changes more than four times what the minister said would be wasted, says the Guardian.The welfare minister is facing further embarrassing disclosures from PwC accountants who found that the universal credit system has had only a small ministerial oversight. It has been found...

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    Cameron casts doubt on universal credit timetable

    David Cameron has put the introduction of the government's welfare changes into doubt by saying he was not "religious" about plans to have universal credit rolled out across the country by 2017, reports the Guardian. Whilst Mr Duncan Smith insisted last week that the change will be in place by its 2017 deadline, the prime minister has said the Department of Work and Pensions was simply...

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    NAO find multiple problems with the governments Universal Credit scheme

    Universal credit merges six different benefits with the person claiming receiving a single monthly household payment. It requires different payments to landlords, more online claims, whilst merging in-work and out-of-work benefits, requiring new definitions of benefit conditions for those in work. It also requires close co-operation between the Department for Work and Pensions systems and tax...

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    Universal Credit has been rife with problems

    The government are admitting that the introduction of Universal Credit have been undermined by technical and bureaucratic problems and is behind schedule.  It is believed that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, feels let down by officials and has had had to employ experts from the private sector to get Universal Credit back on track. Over the summer Mr Duncan Smith hired Mr...

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    Universal Credit will make "most people worse off"

    The report published by Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and the TUC says that the new system will be severely undermined by the recent tax credit and benefit changes.It states that although Universal Credit will improve some aspects of the benefits system, it is unlikely to lift families out of poverty or help remove barriers to working.Even though these are part of the wider intentions of...

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    Direct Payments can now go to Landlord

    It has not been dramatically announced, but revealed in the details given to the Greater Manchester housing benefit staff.The area of Ashton Under Lyme are the first to officially trial universal credit starting yesterday, and are the first to see this change in the details, reading:Landlords can refer rent arrears cases to Universal Credit; those which are under 2 months rent will trigger...

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    People in Social Housing Offered Recycled Computers

    The statistics for how few of those in social housing are able to use the internet has recently been highlighted as the new benefit system will be all online.Universal credit is going to be introduced later this year as a new way to apply for a receive benefits in one go.But a recent report has shown that 4.1m of the 8.7m UK adults in the UK, who have never been online, are in social...

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    Universal Credit is Not Ready Yet

    A report from the Communities and Local Government select committee has requested urgent confirmation that the switch to universal credit will not leave the system open to fraud.The MPs have criticised the government as the system for prevent fraud is still at an early stage, and not ready to be in place, despite already making some of the welfare reforms this month.They have asked the Department...

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    DWP Release Details for Universal Credit Roll Out

     These will be introduced from the end of April, before being progressively rolled out nationally from October.DWP say:Ashton-under-Lyne will be the first Jobcentre to accept claims for Universal Credit from 29 April. Wigan, Warrington and Oldham jobcentres will first trial the new claimant commitment and will take claims for Universal Credit beginning in July, informed by the early testing in...

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    Direct Payment Exemptions May Be Increased

    The DWP is trying to find alternative plans for benefit claimants who are unlikely to be able to cope with the suggested direct payments when universal credit is introduced.Direct payments are one of the concepts of universal credit, which will be gradually introduced in October and will consist of one monthly payments of welfare benefits, instead of multiple benefits, which will be paid directly...

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    Not enough Support for Online Universal Credit System

    Charities and housing associations have said some people have no access to computers, and even if they are able to get access, many do not know how to use the internet.Universal Credit will require all claimants to use the internet, as the whole system is online and to complete the process in person is only for exceptional circumstances.Discussions on the IT readiness of Universal Credit have...

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    Universal Credit Falling Behind Schedule?

    The appointment of Mr Pitchford is likely to increase assumptions that the project is in trouble and falling behind the original plans.Universal Credit is meant to be ready for trials in April this year and will then be rolled out gradually until 2017.More than seventy organisations, including charities and councils, have raised concerns about the workings of its new monthly payments and access...

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    Direct Payment Exemptions will be decided by DWP

    In most cases universal credit will be paid to the claimant, on a monthly basis. For many this will be a change to existing welfare payments, as benefits are usually paid more frequently, and housing benefit often goes direct to the landlord.There have been many concerns raised about this from homesless charities, campaigners and housing associations, with many saying it will cost the...

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    Direct Payments are successful for the majority - but not all!

     The initial findings published before Christmas of the six pilots for direct monthly payments, showed rent collection rates are 92% on average across the projects.This is lower than the current sector average, but the welfare reform minister Lord David Freud has claimed it as a success as the majority of people are paying their rent in full and on time.He has told the Capita Group conference in...

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    Direct Payment Pilots fail to collect 8%

    6,220 tenants across Great Britain were paid directly in the six projects and 92 per cent of rent was collected on average overall, meaning arrears were around double the normal figure. The year-long projects are testing direct payment of housing benefit ahead of the roll out of universal credit next October.Universal credit, which combines a number of benefits into one monthly payment, will be...

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    Universal Credit Redrafted - But is it Enough?

     The new regulations that were published in the summer listed only three categories of eligible charges for services, and left a large area of charges uncovered.Following criticisms from landlords and the Social Security Advisory Committee, an additional category has been added, and they now include payments for the up-keep of communal areas, to maintain a good standard of accommodation, for...

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    "2 million would be better off refusing work with Universal Credit"

     Couples with children are likely to be among the hardest hit by the changes to the benefits system, which are being rolled out across the UK from next year, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.The warnings result from the fact that the more people work, the more they pay in tax and national insurance, and the more they will lose in means-tested benefits under the plans.The Prime...

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    Domestic Violence Refuges are exempt from Direct Benefit Payments

    Iain Duncan Smith says refuges for victims of domestic violence are to be exempt from rules covering the direct payment of housing benefit.Under universal credit, combining benefits in to one single payment, the housing element of the payment will go straight to tenants. Under the current system many tenants have their housing benefit paid to their landlord.Charity Women's Aid raised concerns...

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    DWP Criticised on Welfare Reforms

    The housing associations and councils will be sending the direct payments to around 12,000, but instead of publishing the full results, the DWP has given the results of a 1,639 tenant baseline survey which was carried out before the pilots started.The full results are now not going to be released until next year, which will leave minimal time for the landlords to see what the best way to alter to...

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    Universal Credit may undermine its own reforms

     Universal Credit, we are told, will fix these economic and social problems. However research published today, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tells us that without urgent changes the Government risks undermining its own reforms.Universal Credit has the potential to address systemic problems in the benefit system that we have identified in previous research: complex claims...

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    Universal credit set to go ahead despite heavy criticisms

    The universal credit will replace job seeker's allowance, tax credits, income support, employment and support allowance, and housing benefits, and is intended to simplify benefits with one simple payment allowing claimants to keep more of their benefits when taking paid work. The process will be internet based, where most claimants apply and report changes to their circumstances online.However,...

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    Fortnightly payments to stay under universal credit

    Work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith yesterday told the House of Commons that there may be ‘interim two-weekly payments' for some under universal credit.‘We are looking to trial a whole series of arrangements to make that much easier for them, and we will make sure that that happens,' he said.Under universal credit, which is due to be implemented from October 2013, benefit recipients...

Revenue Optimisation "Coventry Mind has recently worked through a programme of Housing Benefit optimisation with Support Solutions and in particular their specialist Danny Key. Throughout the whole process Danny demonstrated that he has excellent knowledge of the subject and was able to put forward a convincing case for the increase in funding to the Housing Benefit team. Coventry Mind has already and will continue to recommend Support Solutions and in particular this service to other organisations." Steven Hill - Director of Central Services

 

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