Universal credit flaws exposed by social housing tenants
- 08 Oct
A housing association in the North West has said a survey of its tenants exposes flaws in the government's universal credit scheme.
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:
• 55% found the period between making their UC claim and receiving their first payment very difficult. 44% managed financially by borrowing and 18% had taken out a pay day loan.
• 74% had not been offered personal budgeting support by the Department for Work and Pensions. However, 57% of the tenants that were offered this service took up the offer.
• 48% did not know they could apply for an advance payment for UC.
• 43% who did know about this were informed too late to be able to claim advanced payment or said that their application took too long to process leading to them missing their deadline.
• 37% did not receive their payment on the same day each month, making budgeting even more difficult.
• 22% said the Job Centre had not informed them that their rent needed to be paid out of UC money.
• 59% of tenants had not found work since claiming UC.
The survey also asked tenants for suggestions on how UC could be improved UC. Suggestions included:
• Rent being paid directly to the landlord.
• Improved contact with claimants - tenants have struggled to pay to talk to UC teams due to the cost of phone calls and would like an email alternative or a freephone number. Tenants added that the call centre was disconnected from their problem as it wasn't in the local area.
• The Job Centre should loosen requirements as some tenants have had to apply for unrealistic jobs e.g. a job in Salford which started at 2am with claimants reliant on public transport.
• Credit payment should be made fortnightly rather than monthly. Despite the government aim of making payments monthly to replicate work many tenants got paid weekly or fortnightly in previous jobs and therefore it did not replicate the work that tenants were likely to get.
Cath Green, FCHO's chief executive, said: "We knew UC was going to hit customers hard which is why we have had a raft of initiatives and customer support in place since well before the pilot started.
"However, this survey really shows the harsh realities of the new system, and the stark choices our customers have to make between heating, eating and paying their rent. We have been working with the Job Centre, and will continue to do so to ensure this feedback is taken on board. Supporting our customers and ensuring they have a roof over their heads remains our priority."
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions
Image source: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1314865
- 03 May
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...
- 13 Mar
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...
- 23 Nov
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...
- 17 Oct
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...
- 25 Aug
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...
- 25 May
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...
- 09 Sep
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...
- 18 Aug
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...
- 13 Aug
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...
- 13 Aug
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...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The conference tackled todays issues at provider level, and provided knowledgeable people to present the workshops. A.L - Caraston Hall