To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many universal credit claims were subject to deductions in the most recent month for which data is available, broken down by parliamentary constituency; how much on average was deducted in each constituency; what the total sum was of deductions in each constituency; and what proportion of each of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments; and if she will make a statement.
16 June 2022
The Government recognises the importance of supporting the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt. We seek to balance recovery of debt against not causing hardship for claimants and their families. Processes are in place to ensure deductions are manageable, and customers can contact DWP Debt Management if they are experiencing financial hardship, to discuss a reduction in their rate of repayment or a temporary suspension, depending on their financial circumstances.
Since April 2021, we have reduced the normal maximum rate of deductions in Universal Credit from 40% to 25% of a claimant’s Standard Allowance. These positive measures were put in place to support claimants to manage financial difficulties
Advances are a claimant’s benefit entitlement paid early, allowing claimants to access 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. They ensure nobody has to wait for a payment in Universal Credit and those who need it are able to receive financial support as soon as possible. Claimants can receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit award if required, resulting in 25 payments over a 24-month period. This is not a debt.
The requested analysis of Universal Credit claims with a deduction in February 2022 by Parliamentary Constituency in Great Britain (GB) is provided in the separate spreadsheet.