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Universal credit

Briefings and reports

David Webster (University of Glasgow) briefings on benefit sanctions

Dr David Webster is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow (Urban Studies) at the University of Glasgow.

Mind the gaps - briefing 14

This is the fourteenth and final in a series of briefings, Mind the Gaps, which highlight some of the gaps in support that exist for children and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence of these gaps is drawn from our Early Warning System (EWS) which collects case studies from frontline practitioners working directly with families on the problems they are seeing with the social security system.

The cost of a child in 2020

The year 2020 has put unprecedented pressures on families bringing up children. Parents across the world have taken on new challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic in keeping their children healthy and safe as well as properly fed, educated and entertained at a time when they have been required to stay at home, and when many families’ livelihoods have been threatened. Our cost of a child report looks at what items families need to provide a minimum socially acceptable standard of living for their children in 2020.

News

New universal credit assessment period regulations

16 November 2020
New universal credit regulations come in to force today. This follows our successful legal case concerning people paid monthly getting two wages in one UC assessment period.

Legal update

10 February 2020
Our legal team has had a busy start to the new year. Last week we learned we had been successful in our High Court case challenging the fact that the higher rate of bereavement support payment for families with children is currently only paid if a spouse or civil partner dies, and not when the couple were not married or in a civil partnership. This follows a similar challenge to the previous widowed parent’s allowance – the Supreme Court found in favour of a mother and her four children in that case, but, although the law is not compatible with human rights law, the government has still not resolved the issue.

Universal credit claimants left in the dark about their entitlements

01 May 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.

Blogs

Access to justice, one step at a time: Part 2

17 November 2020
Part 1 set out our approach at CPAG to access to justice in the social security field, namely ensuring: access to information, access to advice and assistance, and access to mechanisms for challenging unlawful decisions. Continuing with the last of these steps, the normal route for challenging a social security decision is by appealing it to a tribunal. Sometimes though, the appeal route is not available or, while available in principle, is not effective. In those situations, the route of legal challenge is judicial review.

Furthering access to justice, one step at a time: Part 1

17 November 2020
The ‘rule of law’ and ‘access to justice’ are concepts that are seen as fundamental to the proper functioning of a healthy, democratic society. The rule of law becomes perilously fragile if ordinary people are unable to hold public bodies to account.

'We honestly didn’t know how to survive'

18 September 2020
My name is David. I'm married with three children. I have worked several minimum wage jobs from care worker roles to handyman of a restaurant chain (I am now furloughed). I’ve had ongoing mental health problems and although I'm still medicating I feel I have beaten depression largely and my anxiety is more manageable. I am right now affected by the two-child limit and benefit cap - this alongside a stressful transition to universal credit has caused much stress to both my wife and me, putting a strain on our relationship, generally leaving us wondering how we are going to survive at times.