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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 55691, tabled on 5 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claims for universal credit that have been processed by her Department since 29 March 2020 have resulted in people not qualifying for a payment.

Answered on

10 June 2020

The Department has been working to ensure we get support as quickly as possible to those individuals and households most financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has been a longstanding principle of Universal Credit that an assessment of earnings, other income and capital is needed to establish eligibility to target support to those most in need. There may be several reasons why someone is not eligible to receive Universal Credit, will have received a nil award or withdrew their claim. Among other reasons, this includes:

  • Speculative claims which were subsequently withdrawn.
  • Found new employment (which may at present include being rehired under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or taken advantage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme),
  • Redundancy payments affecting their entitlement,
  • The last month’s salary taken account. The key principle of Universal Credit is that it’s calculated based on income, so if someone’s income from work drops, their Universal Credit payment will rise to top it up,
  • Their claim may have been found to be fraudulent, and
  • Individuals may have capital saved above the £16,000 limit for UC entitlement.

Between March 30th and April 19th there were 767,000 declarations made to Universal Credit, all of which are processed. Of these:

  • 71% have received a UC payment
  • 13% had a nil award due to earnings
  • 7% were withdrawn by the claimant
  • 9% closed due to ineligibility
  • 1% have outstanding verification preventing payment

The proportion of new claims which generated a Universal Credit payment therefore actually rose in the first month of the emergency, when compared to the January and February figures.


  • Percentages are rounded to the nearest 1% and the volume of declarations is rounded to the nearest 1,000.
  • Percentages may not total to 100% due to rounding
  • Figures relate to Great Britain only.
  • Data for the weeks following the 19th of April is not yet available as more time is needed for claims to progress.
  • It is possible the award for new claims has been reduced due to earnings from previous employment prior to claiming UC.
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