Impact of Early Warning System
Numerous EWS cases have raised concerns about the way that universal credit decisions are made, implemented and communicated to claimants. This report, the first of three on universal credit decision making, outlines the problems claimants encounter in understanding their UC award, challenging decisions and getting decisions implemented. This report features EWS cases that highlight these problems, focussing on the online UC system and how it can be improved.
March 2019 – Media request
We interrogated our EWS database to respond to The Guardian’s query about universal credit regarding:
- UC claimants who were wrongly advised to go onto the benefit, were worse off as a result and should now be compensated (as per recent government announcement)
- UC claimants who were refused the benefit on right to reside grounds even though they have a satisfactory right to reside
March 2019 – UC snapshot
CPAG analysed survey results provided by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers on universal credit claims, adding a further dimension to EWS cases.
February 2019 – EWS update
A comprehensive report detailing the trends we have identified in EWS cases over the preceding six months.
February 2019 – DWP meeting
The EWS team met with the DWP’s Director of External Affairs, Strategic Design and Planning in the Universal Credit Programme to discuss ways that EWS database could help the DWP improve the universal credit system. We told them about cases concerning:
- Real Time Information glitches
- Accessing information about closed UC claims online
- Inadequate advice on claiming UC given to claimants appealing ESA decisions
- Missing carer elements for UC claimants following bereavement
- Routes for submitting mandatory reconsideration requests
- Safeguarding vulnerable claimants at an early stage
February 2019 – Natural Migration inquiry
EWS cases informed our response to the Work & Pensions Committee Natural Migration inquiry, in which the committee investigated the impacts on clients of transferring onto universal credit following a change in circumstances and before managed migration, and transitional protection, comes into effect. CPAG responded both in a written submission and in oral evidence.
January 2019 – National Children’s Bureau partnership
We provided NCB with an overview of issues faced by people claiming universal credit following bereavement. In summary, our cases showed claimants were worse off as a result of:
- lack of bereavement protection in UC
- failure to interpret regulations about carers correctly
- loss of disability premiums on transferring to UC
They will incorporate the infomation in their response to the Work and Pensions inquiry on support for the bereaved.
January 2019 – Welfare Safety Net inquiry
Our written response to the Work & Pensions Committee Welfare Safety Net inquiry (launched when the UN special rapporteur visited to investigate extreme poverty in the UK) was based on EWS cases, and what they had been telling us about the effects of changes to the social security system on poor families.
January 2019 – UC escalation routes
Brief report for Kate Osamor, MP outlining the routes and obstacles claimants face in getting universal credit issues resolved. EWS cases were used to illustrate the effects of problems on real claimants.
January 2019 – NAWRA partnership
CPAG provided over 30 anonymised EWS cases to NAWRA illustrating the effects of universal credit decisions on EEA nationals. NAWRA’s response to the Work and Pensions Committee Welfare Safety Net inquiry
November 2018 – Carers UK partnership
We provided Carers UK with a sample of the cases we had seen concerning recovery of carer’s allowance overpayments. [can we link to anything they produced subsequently, if they did?]
November 2018 – Benefit Cap inquiry
July 2018 - Top 8 issues in UC
We published an analysis of the top 8 universal credit issues we're seeing through the early warning system.
June 2018 - National Audit Office
We cited case studies from the early warning system in formal submissions to the National Audit Office and in meetings with NAO officers
October 2017 - APPG on UC
CPAG was asked by Ruth George MP to act as secretariat to the new All Party Parliamentary Group on Universal Credit. At the group’s inaugural meeting in Westminster in October 2017 we raised the problems which face clients who lose entitlement to ESA and are forced to claim UC.