New £1billion package of help for Universal Benefits claimants confirmed – here's what it means for you

DWP boss Esther McVey confirmed Budget revelations that were announced last week last week, which will provide billions of pounds worth of help for those going onto the new system from next year.

She told MPs today that extra help will mean Brits switching to Universal Credit won't be worse off.

"This is targeted support to help work pay and support the vulnerable," she told MPs.

On top of these announcements was a £1.7billion a year packages to push the work allowances up – meaning Brits will be able to get an extra £630 a year from next April.

The new measures were published today after a damning report into the migration from the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) – which said Brits were going to lose out from the switch, which starts next year.

The new announcements which were confirmed today included:

  • Advance loan debt repayments slashed from 40 per cent to 30 per cent each month – helping 600,000 families with £295 extra per year [from October 2019]
  • More old benefits for longer after switch to new system – Jobseekers' Allowance, ESA, and Income Support will be paid for an extra two weeks [From July 2020]
  • Extension from one to three months deadline to move towards Universal Credit – when people are told to
  • Business-owners to get a one-year grace period which exempts them from minimum incomes – supporting 130,000 self-employed Brits [From July 2020]
  • Disabled Brits on Severe Disability Premium will get more money and have their benefits protected

But many of the new moves won't come into play for years to come – some not until 2021.

The report from the SSAC, which got a record number of submissions for its reports, slammed ministers for putting "too much risk loaded onto individuals".

Chair of the Committee, Ian Diamond, said it was "not acceptable" for Brits to continue to wait FIVE weeks for their first benefits payment.

"The Government is proposing that they be offered a choice between financial hardship as they wait for their first payment, or getting into debt to the Department by requesting an advance payment. We do not believe that this is acceptable," he said.

The committee argued said the current timetable for rollout was "unrealistic" and needs to be "urgently" reconsidered – and the system for switching people over would be "extremely complicated".

It called for "dummy runs" before being totally rolled out to make sure the system was working, more help for those applying online, and more plans for how it will work by March.




David Finch, Senior Fellow at the Resolution Foundation, said today that the final stage of the rollout would be "the biggest challenge" to welfare reform.

He added: "The Secretary of State’s relaxation of hard deadlines within which families must complete a claim is also encouraging. But challenges remain.

"The good news is that with the final phase now not starting until late 2020, there is still plenty of time for the government to make further improvements.

"The government must increase the share of claims that are paid in full and on time, and improve the treatment of self-employed workers, to ensure this difficult final phase of the roll-out delivers for those that Universal Credit was created to support."

Almost seven million people are expected to be on Universal Credit by the end of 2023 – pushed back years from its original deadline.

But the new system has been beset with problems, and hundreds say they have been forced into debt because of it.

Today The Sun told how a single dad of two was left with no benefits help for two months because of the way his final paycheque was counted.

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