To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to support households facing financial difficulties as a result of universal credit payment fluctuations because of monthly pay arrangements.
11 September 2018
Universal Credit has been designed to take earnings into account in a way that is fair and transparent. The assessment period and payment structure of Universal Credit is crucial in creating and maintaining the strong work incentives at the heart of Universal Credit and provides the flexibility to adjust when claimants move in and out of work regularly.
DWP has produced guidance to help ensure claimants, staff and representatives are aware of the importance of reporting accurate dates and the impact on payment cycles: this is available online https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments/universal-credit-different-earning-patterns-and-your-payments-payment-cycles.
Where people have potential income volatility because of their payment cycles, they can discuss the implications of this with their case managers and work coaches and can be referred to Personal Budgeting Support to help them manage their budgeting.
The Real Time Information (RTI) system is working well with over 99% of individual employment records now being reported in real time. In April 2018 over a million separate RTI notifications were used in Universal Credit awards. Of those, the DWP RTI Dispute Team received under 3000 disputed earnings referrals – a query rate of less than 0.3%. Many of these queries are resolved by an explanation of how Universal Credit works. We continue to work with employers to ensure that they use the most appropriate payment practices and comply with RTI guidelines to prevent issues from occurring.