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Demands to repay: the impact and legality of the DWP’s reverification of UC claims

09 June 2022
At the start of the pandemic, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) relaxed some evidence checks for people making a universal credit (UC) claim to provide quicker access to benefits. In January 2021, the DWP began reverifying the details of claims made while evidence checks were eased. This has resulted in some claimants being asked to pay back the entirety of their UC award. More than a year after the exercise started, we continue to hear from people who have had their UC payments stopped, who have received demands to repay all the UC they received, and who are unable to understand or challenge the DWPs decision.

Reducing deductions: the first step in a package of support for low-income households

17 May 2022
New data released today shows that 4.1 million households were claiming universal credit (UC) in February 2022. Benefits were recently increased by less than half the rate of inflation, meaning these families saw the real value of their UC fall by £660 a year on average. And while benefit levels sit at historic lows, an estimated 1.8 million households are receiving an average of £61 less each month than they are entitled to because of automatic deductions from their UC payment.

Briefing for MPs on Queen's Speech

10 May 2022
The Queen’s Speech was a missed opportunity for the government to introduce legislation that would support people in the short term and improve living standards in the longer term.

Now you see them, now you don’t: the role of children’s interests in social security law

19 April 2022
In the last 3 years, the UK Supreme Court has adjudicated on three different cases involving social security benefits and children - widowed parent’s allowance, the lowered benefit cap and the two-child limit. The judgments can be analysed from a range of perspectives.

"I want my voice to be heard": What London families want from their local councillors

12 April 2022
London is one of the greatest and richest cities in the world. But for too many Londoners and their children, proximity to the city’s affluence does not mean sharing in this wealth – adequate employment, affordable housing and fit-for-purpose childcare are often out of reach. In fact, after accounting for housing costs, London has the highest rate of child poverty of any region in the UK. We asked our London Calling panel what they want their councillors to prioritise. They highlighted five main themes: childcare, free school meals, housing, children’s activities and community engagement.

“It’s heart-breaking that I feel I cannot fully provide for my youngest without struggling”: The impact of five years of the two-child limit policy

06 April 2022
Under the two-child limit, parents are not entitled to any extra support through universal credit or child tax credit to help with raising a third or subsequent child born after 6 April 2017. This means they lose out on up to £2,935 a year, and puts families’ budgets under enormous strain. Five years after the introduction of the two-child limit, an estimated 1.4 million children in 400,000 families are now affected by the policy. Unless it is abolished, the number of children affected will reach 3 million, as more children are born under the policy.

The Cost of Having Fun at School

28 March 2022
The Cost of Having Fun at School captures the experiences of pupils and parents with school fun, highlighting what we've heard from Cost of the School Day focus groups with over 8,000 pupils as well as the views of parents and carers.

Parliamentary briefing on spring statement

24 March 2022
Yesterday the chancellor missed the opportunity to give essential support to families hardest hit by rising living costs. By not increasing benefits in line with inflation, the government has imposed a £663 real-terms cut on families with children receiving universal credit – the second cut in quick succession for families who recently lost £20 a week.

Pushed deeper into poverty: the impact of the benefit cap

22 March 2022
New statistics released today show that 123,000 households were subject to the benefit cap in November 2021. Read our latest briefing

'You have to take it back to the bricks’: Reforming emergency support to reduce demand for food banks

22 March 2022
Emergency support plays a small but vital role in the social security system. It is there to help families through one-off shocks that cause a sudden drop in income or increase in costs, such as the onset of a health problem or the washing machine breaking down. But, in practice, many families are not getting the support they need when they need it, and this is contributing to the rising demand for food banks.