COMMONS

Web forum: Universal Credit rollout

As part of our inquiry on Universal Credit rollout, the Work and Pensions Committee would like to hear about your experience of claiming Universal Credit in our web forum.

Get involved

This web forum closed on Friday 13 October 2017.

Have you applied for Universal Credit? We’d like to hear from you.

We would like to find out what worked well during the claiming process, what did not work, and what improvements you think could be made. You might want to tell us about:

  • Which Jobcentre or geographic area did you apply for Universal Credit in
  • How you found the process of setting up an application (eg. making an initial appointment with Jobcentre Plus, applying online)
  • Whether you received your first payment when you expected to and whether you were paid the right amount
  • Any support you received in managing until the first payment: for example, did you request or receive an Advance Payment?
  • How UC has affected your ability to manage your money, including budgeting for rent, food and bills.

Comments will be used to inform the Committee's thinking on this issue. This forum is pre-moderated and comments that breach the online discussion rules will not be posted.

Please read the forum terms and conditions before posting your comment.

Image: PA


 

55 Responses to Universal Credit Forum

Linda Oubridge says:
October 13, 2017 at 02:50 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
I am not on universal credit. But I think making people live on NOTHING for 6 weeks is inhumane. Universal Credit is clearly NOT working & means people are becoming homeless & hungry. Please scrap it. Also, applying for things online would be very difficult for those with learning disabilities, mental health issues etcetera. I used to work with such people. Please scrap this so called benefit.
Kate Babington says:
October 12, 2017 at 08:09 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
This system of benefits is cruel and unjust.
It's atrocious how people are being treated on it.
ibrahim sareva says:
October 12, 2017 at 11:39 AM
Subject: Universal Credit
I applied for Universal Credit in Oxford Job Centre in November 2016. Because of moving to a new property, I needed to apply for housing benefit. I was told I had to apply for universal credit for this. At this time I was on Job Seekers allowance. It was very difficult to try and change from Job Seekers allowance to Universal credit. I was told to apply by phone, and my application was rejected. I tried phoning four times, and I tried applying online three times. I visited the job centre three times to try and understand why my claim was being rejected. I also called them on the phone. No one at the Job centre could tell me why my claim was being rejected, even though they had told me to apply for universal credit. I felt very frustrated by this. I eventually went to Citizens Advice for help. They called the DWP on my behalf, and they told me that I had to close my account for job seekers allowance before I could be accepted on Universal credit. As soon as I did this, my claim was accepted instantly. None of the Job Centre staff I spoke to told me that I needed to close my job seekers allowance account before claiming universal credit. I went into debt because of the loss of income this caused me, and I had to borrow money to survive. I did get an advance payment but this didn't cover half a month's rent. I didn't have any money to cover basic things like food and bills.
Sam welbourne says:
October 11, 2017 at 09:42 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
Wells job centre. Very efficient. Payment received roughly right. The right amount according to what? We were paid a lot less than housing benefit. No advanced payment.
The affect of the claim was disastrous. It used up way too much time. I was accepted as self employed but having traded for just over 12 months the MIF was imposed. This destroyed my cash flow and I had to sell equipment. We have had to spend savings and are looking into leaving the country. It's sad that the 1% of workers who do specialist freelance things are being treated so badly. Variable or seasonal income is being handled with no respect. It is not possible to plan if the rent payment a) varies constantly and b) is determined just before rent day. Sorry England - you will loose my talent.
Rachel Whittaker says:
October 11, 2017 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
Forget the admin of universal credit, look at the rules & regulation governing it! Many thousands of people will be worse off on UC. If I was moved into it tomorrow I would lose 70 pounds a week. Where's the fairness in that? Work hard setting up my business, two years in profit but seasonal. 8 months a year I will be above MIF & get any extra money taken off me at 63p in the pound and for 4 months of the year I will be below MIF & receive a pittance if anything at all. What about months when my vehicle fails, or my child is ill, or myself, or injury or school holidays....the list goes on because life happens & UC credit is ungenerous & inflexible. I stand to lose thousands & I am really angry that these extra barriers are being placed in my way. Another silly thing is that fact that MIF is based on 52 weeks a week. No one works 52 weeks a year! No employed person has to do that, they get sickness pay & holiday pay, many benefits self employed people don't get. I resent having to do two lots of accounts because the DWP can't be bothered to use the one we already have with HMRC....I don't mind monthly accounts but it can't be on a month by month basis that MIF is based on. Even expenses are different to the ones accepted by HMRC. Who thought this rubbish up?
All this seems designed to not encourage people to go self employed & to find better paying jobs in a country where there aren't the bloody jovsvto begin with. Why force people to go on the dole? Why make it so that it's better to be on benefits than be doing something keeping you off the dole queue, doing something worthwhile. Why why why? It all makes no sense.
Stop this madness before the country riots. This UC is making the working poor poorer, and you know what that leads to.
Janine Richards says:
October 11, 2017 at 01:41 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
The universal credit system is an absolute shambles.
I was on jobseekers, with disability allowances, and after finally finding a job I was able to do I was told to apply for UC since I was on a low income. Having been assured that I would still be entitled to my disability allowances, I thought the future looked good. How wrong I was! Despite my landlords sending the housing details 3 times, beginning on the 7th September, and twice since then, marked as urgent, UC deny that they have ever received these details! After many expensive and time consuming phone calls, culminating in my bursting into tears in the jobcentre, having begged them to let me use the phone, I am still no further on, except I am now £840 in arrears with my rent after waiting 7 weeks for this to be resolved. Today the farce continues! My landlords, who are social housing, have sent the details for a fourth time, and yet UC claim they have not had them!!! How can this situation be allowed to continue!?! Despite sending off my disability details to UC on the 8th Sept, it took them until the 2nd Oct to act upon my journal entry, and send my case to a decision-maker!!
Who are these 'decision-makers', do they even exist?!
UC have told me there are no time scales for decisions from these 'all powerful individuals', no way of checking when they will make their 'decision' and no facility to chase them up! Basically, it could be months, or it might not be, who knows?, since it would seem no-one has any access to any information!! One wonders, do they exist or is this just another delaying tactic to stop those who are entitled from claiming their allowances?
On both counts the way this government agency is run is LUNACY!!
It is also bloody dangerous for the poor sods waiting for their rent to be paid. By poor sods, I mean the tenant and the landlords.
Something really needs to change, and fast!!
Tonia T says:
October 11, 2017 at 12:11 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
I live in Somerset, Mendip area.
I applied online for Universal Credit just before Christmas of 2016, I didn't receive any payment until 15th February 2017. I managed to get an advance payment which didn't arrive until end of January. I was shocked by the amount of time it took to get my claim going, even over the Christmas period.

I have been struggling with my health & mental health; since the start of the year I have spent most of my time between doctors, therapy, hospital appointments and jobcentre. I got a part time job and was still qualified for universal credit. for a short while Universal Credit kept up to their promise of supplying me with £230 a month.

however when I got seriously ill this all changed. My fit notes for my claim got lost 5 times from Wells Jobcentre - St Austell service centre; Where my very ignorant case manager <redacted> works. Due to this I got unrightly sanctioned, and received £5 payment of July this year. I have been going through an RTI dispute since then til now about that. August I was paid a whopping £0 due to a miscalculation of earnings. They believed I and my partner had made over £2980 however, my partner had barely made £700 and I nothing due to being off work extremely ill.

my partner was continuing to be my carer and work as much as he could. Each week I had posted in my journal to my case manager or even about a payment. I have never received replies, I have never been informed as to why my money had been taken away.

I have been to citizens advice and the council looking for help with my issues with DWP, however they believe there isn't much they can do with UC, except I apply for PIP. The month of September I received £12 to keep me going for the month. In these payments I am still paying off my Advance Payment, which takes my payment down from around £40 a month to less that £15.

Due to my health issue and mental health issues, my physical health comes in waves; I can have days/weeks/months of 'flaring up' and be unable to do almost anything, other days/weeks I am able to walk, cook food etc.

my mental health issues have been made considerably worse due to the Jobcentres actions and messages. I have been told many times 'my questions will be answered, just bring in all the evidence and we will get back to you"

I always hold up my side of the bargain with bringing in evidence, keeping up with my commitments and even being early to the jobcentre.

However I am NEVER informed of my payments, and if I have my payment has been different until the day of my payment, where it has changed to below £15.I have always waited for a long time at the jobcentre (at times nearly getting a ticket on my car)

my partner has now left due to the stress. He was working for nothing, as every penny he had paid for my bills/debts/rent.

my claim changed to a single claim. and still, I am not being paid enough to live.

I have lost all weight I had, all mental stability I had and any faith in our government systems.

I still don't receive anything for my illness, their processes take that long that I fear I won't last until my Disability Assessment, and I definitely won't be able to afford to get there, or infact to my next appointment.

Each month their services get worse and I am ignored more and more. UC do not take into consideration PERSONAL issues; we are simply just numbers and ticking boxes. There is no care for the INDIVIDUAL.

This month I will either lose my home, or starve (again)

I was homeless for 3 years up until July. I have lasted 3 months in a comfortable space; and I am in COMPLETE FEAR of losing everything again.

I will be forced to work this month, although I am not well enough to. If I overwork my body again I will end up bed bound for a considerable amount of time again.

Due to UC approaches the stress has become so much that my mental state is teetering on the edge, [I am extremely suicidal, I fear every coming day and scared for the month ahead.] My body may not be able to cope much longer too.

I blame UC for my increased medical problems; and if I starve or decide to end my life. Deep down it will be them to blame.

This month I will be paid £405 on the 15th of this month. However, UC are aware of my housing costs/debts/bills etc as I was declaring them every month due to my part time job.
my rent = £450
bills for house= around £90 a month
council tax = £118 a month
my debts repayments to MCCU (to get house) = £120 a month
my car payments (which I got for job) = £156 insurance £12.68 tax (not including any petrol costs or upkeep)
debt repayments for job equipment = £120

I am aware my car insurance and debts is nothing to do with them really, but I cannot live without my car currently as I often cannot walk or move enough to get to a bus stop.
My debts are from trying to find a job that I could do alongside my health issues, as they forced me to find a job initially.
their calculation £405, this wi
susan says:
October 11, 2017 at 10:23 AM
Subject: Universal Credit
In response to your facebook post about Universal credit.

I am now on Universal Credit after being on Esa assessment for 6 months, I went to a medical on the 4th of sept which was running over 2 hours late. I couldn’t leave to get any drinks to take painkillers as they were due. I wasn’t expecting to be still there after 2 hrs. My apt time was 11.30 and I finally went in at 1.45.

As I expected because they are failing the majority of claimants I failed. I got my result in a phone call just 16 days later on 20th sept (some wait for upto 6 weeks) so I knew I had failed.
My son who is now my carer took over the call as I was too distraught. They informed us that my claim was unsuccessful and benefit will stop from 14th sept which was the week before immediately.

We had to claim UC online, at that time I had no access to a computer and no money to get to the jobcentre.
I went to the local community centre who gave me access to their computers where I filled the form in.

I then was sent an appointment for the 2nd oct. (2 weeks away). I went to the apt but then they told me that the tax credits which at that time was the only income would stop as it goes on the UC claim. Then they say oh by the way as your son who is in fulltime education cant go on the claim as esa is not payable after 19 and tax credits pay til their 20th birthday. He is looking desperately for work, he is in college 4/5 days a week. Everyone wants experience but you cant get that without a job. He has done loads of voluntary but it seems that is not enough. I rang tax credits a sthe money had still gone in the bank, they told me that they will continue to pay me the £60.10 up to the 24th October. At least we had something for gas and light.

I have various medical/mental health conditions which effect my daily life, I was a carer to my son who has severe adhd with autism traits until he was 20 and at that point I physically could no longer care for him.

I didn’t ask for this life and have worked hard keeping my family together after their dad walked out. I never asked to be a single parent on benefits. All of the kids and myself have done loads of voluntary work and have never been idle. But now I am in the situation where my health now rules my life.

My first payment is not due until 26th October, they offer you an advance payment of upto half your monthly entitlement to be paid out of your money each month, but that puts you in even more debt before you have started. I am now 4 weeks behind with the rent, about to have the water cut off as no payments are being made, using foodbanks but that is limited. I have borrowed off my older kids plus they top up my gas as I suffer with the cold.
I have put my appeal in for esa but i’m not hopeful. I didn’t choose to be ill and yes I would love to work but when your mind says yes but your body has other ideas its not an ideal situation.

Its got to the point where I honestly think I don’t want to carry on, my family would be better off without me as I have become aburden to them. Mums are seen as strong resilient women in their kids lives. We cry our tears in the pillow in the dead of night then get up in the morning and carry on. The new system has broken me where my ex couldn’t.
Sarah says:
October 11, 2017 at 06:34 AM
Subject: Universal Credit
I am very worried about Universal Credit. I have 4 children and a mentally ill husband (who does not claim anything and will not ever), I've worked my way up in my job from the bottom to a management role, I currently do receive tax credits and this helps a lot. Going 6 weeks without any money and basically being forced to take a loan to cover half of your living costs sounds inhumane to me.

Why are we punishing our own people? This is sick! I have joined a group on Facebook with 30 thousand members and none of their stories are good stories, the group is Universal Credit Survival. You should take a look!

Newcastle City Council are in arrears of over a million because of Universal Credit. Not one of the greatest ideas. It is a failure and will cause great distress from the people that need help most.
Daryn Manchip says:
October 10, 2017 at 11:23 PM
Subject: Universal Credit
Dear Members of Parliament,
As a family we currently receive Working Tax Credits and the Child Tax element. We are both in our early 50's, registered with HMRC through Self Assessment as Self Employed. We run a small organic veg box scheme from a small holding we use without any subsidy or public funding. Elmo's Kitchen our business was established with the support in its first year through The Enterprize Allowance Scheme here in West Wales in 2013. Both my partner and I are sole traders. We have become aware that from March 2018 UC is being rolled out in are postcode.
We are greatly concerned that all our hard work over the last five years to eek out a existence here in West Wales will be destroyed overnight with its implementation. I hold extreme concerns about ‘definitions used’ within UC and we're particularly alarmed by the construct termed 'The Minimum Income Floor' which appears to use Living Wage hourly rates (PAYE) as an income bench mark to determine eligibility.
I do not know how this bench mark can address the real undertakings most Self-employed persons function within. Notions of Gainful self employment bears no meaning if one's business operates in the current economy, especially in areas such as West Wales which is the poorest region in the UK.
As you will know the majority of new small businesses fail within the first two years of trading. The implementation of UC in this region will decimate our economy. Can I remind you also why Working Tax credits were introduced? It was meant not just as a means to lift folk out of poverty and into self-dignity it was also meant to control the informal economy. UC by affect will increase factors associated with the informal economy.
It is sheer madness to roll it out here. The effect on us here will mean losing our home, wrecking the chance of my partners son's education as a 12 year old and destroying any means for us to exist with the legacy of our endeavours. We will be forced to live back on the road, become itinerant and nomadic. We will become a greater problem for social policy makers.
We are not unique, there are 100,000’s of self employed folk who overnight will become victims of a social policy which can only fail. Are you also aware of the factual inaccuracies as definitions displayed on the UK Governments web page defining Self Employment perceptions and Universal Credit social policy?
I would be honoured and happy to testify my concerns and qualitative evidence I have observed to any Select Committee should you request. We are very worried about our futures here. Please halt this roll out.
Yours faithfully
Daryn Manchip BA(hons)