Universal Credit:Written question - 255341

Q
(Wirral West)
[N]
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Asked on: 16 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of universal credit payments have been subject to a deduction as a result of a claimant’s historic debt to (a) her Department and (b) HM Treasury in the latest month for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 21 May 2019

Internal Management information shows that in April 2019, 280,000 payments of Universal Credit (UC) had a deduction applied to repay a non UC debt owed to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and 340,000 payments of UC had a deduction applied to repay a Tax Credit debt (these figures have been rounded to the nearest 10,000). Some payments of UC may have had a deduction for both a non UC debt and a Tax Credit debt. These claimants would appear in both totals, therefore the figures cannot be summed.

In line with the deductions policy in UC, for both types of debt, the deductions would not usually exceed the maximum amounts, which are set out legislation. Only in cases where last resort deductions are applied can these rates be exceeded. DWP ensures that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect claimants who have deductions from their benefit to repay overpayments. If a claimant is struggling they can contact DWP’s Debt Management to discuss lowering their repayment rate.

It is also worth noting that it is not possible to provide this as a proportion at April 2019, as the latest UC caseload data is only available as of 14 February 19. However, for context, as of 14 February 19, 1.4m households received payments of UC.

N.B. This data on deductions has been sourced from internal management information. It should therefore not be compared to any other similar data subsequently released by the DWP.

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