This report presents case studies and analysis from CPAG’s Early Warning System to highlight problems with the information provided to people claiming universal credit. The report focuses on two key areas: the information provided to claimants about payment decisions, and the information provided to claimants about their right to challenge decisions if they do not agree with them. The first is important because it is only if the basis of a decision is properly explained that a claimant can easily work out if a mistake has been made. The second is important because having identified a mistake, a claimant needs to know how to go about getting it fixed.
The information that is currently provided to claimants about their universal credit payment and how to challenge a decision if they think a mistake has been made is inadequate and, in some instances, unlawful. The government’s own survey of universal credit claimants found that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) felt that the decision about their claim had either not been explained at all, or had not been explained clearly. This situation is particularly worrying because of the high number of cases received by the EWS where UC payments have been incorrectly calculated.