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Universal Credit: Deductions

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 40869, tabled on 18 August 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit claimants had deductions made to their monthly payment (a) in March 2020 and (b) in the most recent month for which figures are available, by (i) categories of third party debt deductions, (ii) advance payments and (iii) benefit overpayments and (iv) other types of deductions.

Answered on

10 September 2021

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments, with support for claimants. Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable. From 12 April 2021, we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards to 25 per cent and lengthened the period from 12 to 24 months, meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security, and follows a previous change in October 2019 that reduced the cap from 40% to 30%.

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.

Original answer

We carefully balance our duty to the taxpayer to recover overpayments, with support for claimants. Safeguards are in place to ensure deductions are manageable. From 12 April 2021, we further reduced the cap on deductions from Universal Credit awards to 25 per cent and lengthened the period from 12 to 24 months, meaning in effect someone can receive 25 payments over 24 months, giving them more flexibility over the payments of their Universal Credit award. This will also allow claimants to retain more of their award, giving additional financial security, and follows a previous change in October 2019 that reduced the cap from 40% to 30%.

Customers can contact the Department if they are experiencing financial hardship to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment, depending on their financial circumstances, whilst work coaches can also signpost claimants to other financial support.

The information requested is provided in the attached spreadsheet.