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Universal Credit: Carers

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL56, tabled on 11 May 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the commitment made in their response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published on 16 July 2019 (CP 137), what steps they have taken to review the effectiveness of the policy to encourage Universal Credit claimants to nominate the main carer's bank account for payment.

Answered on

10 June 2021

Since Summer 2019, the online claim process has featured messaging that encourages joint claimants to select the bank account of the main carer when choosing where Universal Credit payments should be paid to. This seeks to balance encouragement of positive financial management behaviours, whilst also allowing claimants to choose how to best manage their own finances.

It is not currently possible to reliably identify whether payment has been made to the main carer in couples with children. While we have analysed data on payments to male and female members of couples (as below), we cannot yet confidently identify the main carer. It has not been possible to draw robust conclusions based on this limited evidence. Further work is planned.

The ‘Universal Credit Statistical Ad Hoc: Gender of bank account holders on Universal Credit’, published January 2019, shows that for couple claimants where the gender of the account holder could be identified, 59% of accounts are held by a female with 41% held by a male. This is the source of the statistic stated in the Government’s response to the report from the Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill, that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit payments go to the main carer, usually a woman’, although I regret that response should more accurately have said that ‘around 60 per cent of Universal Credit couple payments go to the woman, usually the main carer.’