Universal Credit rated WORSE than all other benefits, according to survey by DWP
UNIVERSAL Credit is rated worse than any other benefit – that's according to an official study by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The damning Government survey asked people how satisfied they are with the service they receive for each type of benefit.
Universal Credit is dealt with electronically via an online journal where claimants can discuss queries with staff and update personal information if their circumstances change.
But we've heard from hundreds of claimants who have waited days or even weeks before getting an answer to their questions through The Sun's Make Universal Credit Work campaign.
Are you on Universal Credit. Tell us your story! Email us: [email protected]
Now, it's been confirmed by the DWP that people are least satisfied with their experience on Universal Credit, according to its own survey of nearly 6,000 people.
Nineteen per cent of claimants said they were "dissatisfied – 10 per cent of whom were "very dissatisfied" – in 2017-2018, the claimant service and experience study showed.
The DWP responded to its own findings by arguing that overall, satisfaction has stayed "consistently high".
One million people are already on Universal Credit, claiming payments such as child benefit, tax credits, housing benefit, income support and jobseekers' allowance.
At least seven million Brits are expected to be on the system when it's fully rolled out in 2030.
In another shocking revelation, one in six claimants said they had been given incorrect or contradictory information about Universal Credit.
That's the highest number of any other type of benefit, including employment and support allowance and the personal independence payment.
Overall, 80 per cent said they were satisfied with Universal Credit – the lowest percentage of any benefit.
The remaining 1 per cent said they didn't know how they felt about the service.
The Sun wants to Make Universal Credit Work
One million people are already receiving it and by the time the system is fully rolled out in 2023, nearly 7 million will be on it.
But there are big problems with the flagship new system – it takes 5 weeks to get the first payment and it could leave some families worse off by thousands of pounds a year.
And while working families can claim back up to 85 per cent of their childcare costs, they must find the money to pay for childcare upfront – we’ve heard of families waiting up to 6 months for the money.
Working parents across the country told us they’ve been unable to take on more hours – or have even turned down better paid jobs or more hours because of the amount they get their benefits cut.
It’s time to Make Universal Credit work. We want the Government to:
- Get paid faster: The Government must slash the time Brits wait for their first Universal Credit payments from five to two weeks, helping stop 7 million from being pushed into debt.
- Keep more of what you earn: The work allowance should be increased and the taper rate should be slashed from 63p to 50p, helping at least 4 million families.
- Don’t get punished for having a family: Parents should get the 85 per cent of the money they can claim for childcare upfront instead of being paid in arrears.
Together, these changes will help Make Universal Credit Work.
Join our Universal Credit Facebook group or email [email protected] to share your story.
More people were unhappy with their Universal Credit experience in 2017-2018 than the previous year, the report found, when 83 per cent were satisfied and 16 per cent were dissatisfied.
But the DWP claims the findings can't be compared across the two years because the sample size was bigger by 2,000 people in 2017-2018.
In addition, 29 per cent of people said they struggled to get in touch with staff about Universal Credit.
And 28 per cent said they weren't told what would happen next when a change was made, for example, a new claim being filed.
Universal Credit claimants were also the most likely (18 per cent) to say they had reported difficulties or experienced a problem with the DWP, according to the study.
And of those, just under four in ten (37 per cent) said their difficulties or problems were resolved in 2017-2018.
The DWP said that claimants can check their online account or speak with their work coach if they don't think they're getting the right information, or ring the Universal Credit helpline.
The survey asked people to rank how satisfied they were with their experience on different types of benefit, from state pension and pension credit, to carer's allowance, income support and disability living allowance.
Since launching in 2013, Universal Credit has been riddled with issues, so The Sun is urging the DWP to make changes as part of our Make Universal Credit Work campaign.
The DWP highlighted that 80 per cent of claimants who had face to face interactions staff said they were knowledgeable, helpful and polite.
A DWP spokesman told The Sun: "Overall satisfaction among claimants has remained consistently high over the last three years.
"Four out of five claimants are satisfied with the support they have received when claiming Universal Credit and this survey plays a vital role in helping us improve this number even more."
Universal Credit is the Government's flagship new benefits system that rolls six payments into one – but it's been plagued with problems since it came in five years ago.
Hard-up Brits applying for Universal Credit face a five week wait without cash before receiving their first payment.
We're calling for the wait time to be slashed to two weeks to avoid plunging millions of vulnerable people further into debt.
The wages of working families is also hit hard by the taper rate which deducts 63p from your benefits payment for every £1 you earn over the £198 work allowance – we want this dropped to 50p.
Parents trying to get back into work are entitled to claim up to 85 per cent of childcare costs but will only get the cash back in arrears – but we want the welfare state to fund these costs upfront.
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