May 1, 2019
Universal credit (UC) claimants are routinely in the dark about how much they should receive, how their awards are calculated and if and how they can challenge DWP decisions, because the Department’s communications with claimants are opaque and inadequate, new analysis from the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) finds.
One in five of the 1,110 UC cases referred to the charity’s Early Warning System - which gathers and analyses cases from welfare rights advisers across the UK - involve a DWP administrative error likely to result in a claimant getting the wrong amount. Because UC rolls six different ‘old’ benefits into one, often claimants cannot tell what its components are - and so cannot know if it is right. And since information provided by the DWP about how their award has been worked out is frequently inadequate, payments may be wrong, and go unchallenged. As a result, many claimants are at risk of sliding into debt, CPAG warns.