Universal Credit: the wait for a first payment Contents



Evidence of the impact of the wait

Advance repayments and debt

Coronavirus measures

Support for claimants

Payment timeliness


Improving payments

Improving the assessment system

1 Introduction

Our inquiry

2 The impact of the wait

Savings and financial resilience

Food banks

Evidence from stakeholders

Rent arrears

NAO’s findings

Mental health and wellbeing

3 Moving to Universal Credit without a change in circumstance

“Managed migration” to Universal Credit


More flexible payments

Our proposed solution

4 Starter payments in Universal Credit

The case for non-repayable initial payments

Targeted grants

Non-repayable initial payments: possible drawbacks

Special Rules for Terminal Illness

5 Advance payments

Who takes out an Advance?

Are Advances helping claimants?

The impact of Advance repayments

Advance repayments and other debts

The changes announced in the Budget

Support for people who are struggling with repayments

The Breathing Space scheme

Learning from the private sector

Advances and the housing element

A new approach to Advances: new claim loans

6 Increased financial support

Universal Credit standard allowance and Local Housing Allowance increases

7 Support for claimants

Universal Support

Universal Support: the reality

Help to Claim

Universal Support: what now?

Specific claimant groups

Tracking vulnerable claimants

DWP’s work with support organisations

8 Payment timeliness

Improvements to payment timeliness

Disabled people and people with health conditions

The Work Capability Assessment

9 Tax credit debts

The problem of tax credit debts

Tax credit debt: what should be done?

HMRC’s response

10 Backdating

What is backdating?

Why do people not claim on time?

How does the Department encourage people to claim on time?

11 Improving payments

How does the Department pay people Universal Credit?

How do monthly payments work for people?

Alternative Payment Arrangements - more frequent payments

High reversion rate from more frequent payments

12 Speeding up payments - shortening the fifth week

13 Improving the assessment system

How the monthly assessment system works for claimants

Alternatives to the monthly assessment system

How has the Department responded to proposals to change the assessment system?

14 Conclusion

Conclusions and recommendations

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 19 October 2020