To ask His Majesty's Government how many, and what proportion, of Universal Credit claims were subject to deductions in the most recent month for which data is available, broken down by parliamentary constituency; how much was the (1) total, and (2) average, sum of deductions in each constituency; and what proportion of those sums was deducted to repay advance payments.
28 June 2023
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 the DWP Debt Management Team 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 2023 by parliamentary constituency in Great Britain (GB) is provided in the separate spreadsheet.
Data for February 2023 has been provided in line with the latest available Universal Credit Household Statistics.