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Universal Credit

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 70230, tabled on 5 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the (a) impact and (b) financial impact on claimants of (i) the three month waiting period for the limited capability for work-related activity element of universal credit for people with severe health issues and (ii) the decision not to backdate payments for the three month waiting period.

Answered on

30 November 2021

Where the claimant is determined to have limited capability for work and work-related activity (LCWRA), an additional amount of Universal Credit (UC) may be awarded. However, before the additional amount is payable, a UC claimant must serve the ‘relevant’ period to establish that they have a long-term health condition. This approach replicates the 13-week assessment period which is applied in Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claims.

There are no plans to assess the impact of the relevant period or current backdating rules. Where an additional amount of UC is payable, this is backdated to the start of the assessment period following the assessment period in which the relevant period ends.

Throughout the period before the award of the LCWRA addition, claimants will receive the applicable standard allowance plus any additions, reflecting the claimants’ personal circumstances, for example for children, housing costs, childcare costs. They may also be eligible for support through PIP.

There are exceptions to serving the relevant period in UC, including where someone accesses benefits via the Special Rules for Terminal Illness. Where a claimant deemed to have LCWRA in ESA moves to UC, and those claims are continuous, the relevant period does not apply. An exception also applies in relation to claimants whose award ended in the previous six months as a result of their earnings exceeding their entitlement. Where that claimant’s previous award included the LCWRA addition, they do not, on reclaiming, have to serve the relevant period again.