Universal credit assessment period inflexibility

Last updated: April 4, 2018

On 29 March 2018, CPAG filed a claim for permission to apply for judicial review to challenge the rigidity of the assessment period regime in universal credit which results in some people being treated as receiving two monthly wages in one assessment period, in turn affecting the amount of their UC award. The claim is being brought on behalf of a single working mother. Her UC assessment period runs from the 30th of one month to the 29th of the next and she is paid by her employer on the last working day of each month. As a consequence, there are some assessment periods when she is treated as receiving two monthly wages (eg Nov/Dec 2017 she was paid on Thursday 30th November and Friday 29th December). This results in a dramatically reduced UC award, as she is treated as receiving twice the amount from income as is usually the case, causing obvious cash flow problems for somebody managing on a very tightly balanced budget. Further, as the claimant is entitled to a working allowance, she effectively loses out on the benefit of one working allowance against one month’s salary which is not compensated by the fact that the following assessment period she is treated as receiving no wages and so gets the maximum UC allowance.

Delivery plan "a very welcome step on the road to a Scotland free of child poverty"

29 March 2018

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland

MEDIA RELEASE for immediate release 29/03/18

• "Time now for immediate action on income supplement to avert horrendous child poverty projections"

Child poverty campaigners today (29th March 2018) welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government's first statutory child poverty delivery plan under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act, and called for swift action to implement the proposed income supplement.

Read more

Latest Tax Credits and Early Years Bulletin available

27 March 2018

The March edition of CPAG in Scotland's Tax Credits and Early Years Bulletin is now available.

Read up on Sure Start Maternity Grants, training courses, updated Financial Help in the Early Years factsheet, childcare vouchers, Scottish Carer's Allowance supplement and late mandatory considerations.

Read more

Editorial: Poverty 159

Issue 159 (Winter 2018)

The appointment of the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, has caused a stir, especially coming shortly after her predecessor had shown some willingness to address universal credit design problems. In last year’s Budget he reduced the initial wait for payments from six to five weeks and announced two weeks’ extra housing benefit for people who would otherwise struggle to pay their rent, as well as announcing that larger advances would be available.

The importance of income for children and families: an updated review of the evidence

Issue 159 (Winter 2018)

It is an all too familiar fact that children from low-income households tend to do less well than children whose parents are better off. They have worse health, do less well at school, and are more likely to have behavioural problems. In a systematic evidence review conducted in 2013, Kerris Cooper and Kitty Stewart found clear confirmation that low income is itself one reason for these worse outcomes, and not just a proxy for other factors such as parental education.

Implementing universal credit

Issue 159 (Winter 2018)

The implementation of universal credit has been beset with problems. Here, Ros White considers the effect on claimants of the delays to the universal credit roll-out and the government’s failure to fully address the complexities involved.

More from Poverty 159

The austerity generation: the impact of cuts to universal credit on family incomes and child poverty

Issue 159 (Winter 2018)

CPAG’s new report, The Austerity Generation, sets out the effect of a decade of cuts to social security on family incomes and child poverty, based on modelling by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

‘Time to deliver’ say child poverty campaigners as latest figures show one in four children still living in poverty

22 March 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

for immediate release 22/03/18

‘Time to deliver’ say child poverty campaigners as latest figures show one in four children still living in poverty

Read more

Latest Students and Benefits Bulletin live

22 March 2018

The March 2018 edition of CPAG in Scotland's students and benefits e-bulletin is available, keeping you up to date with changes to benefits and tax credits relevant to students.

Read up on our latest training courses, universal credit update, claiming benefits when a course ends, the new ILF transition fund and LEAD Scotland's Trusts guide.

Read more

CPAG's response to annual poverty statistics

22 March 2018

Read our statement on the publication of the government's annual poverty statistics.

Read more