A report produced last week by Citizens Advice (CA) reveals that some single disabled people could be more than £300 a month worse off under universal credit (UC).
In its report ‘Universal Credit for Single Disabled People’, CA argues that the work allowance in UC is flawed as it can only be accessed by claimants who have passed the work capability assessment for people unable to work.
This means that to get an allowance that is aimed at people who are in work, claimants must initially be unable to work.
The report argues that disabled claimants on UC may lose out in a variety of ways:
- Working disabled people on Universal Credit could be more than £300 per month worse off because they struggle to access the Work Allowance while in work.
- Working disabled people who do get the Work Allowance could be more than £200 per month worse off due to weaker support from the Work Allowance when compared to support for disabled workers in Tax Credits.
- Disabled people who can only do limited work have their benefit reduced after working just 6 hours a week at the minimum wage if they have housing costs, rather than 16 hours a week in the previous system. This means somebody working 12 hours a week can be over £100 a month worse off.
- People without a carer and unable to work who make a new Universal Credit claim can be £180 a month worse off because the Severe Disability Premium was removed.
CA is calling on the government to make a variety of changes to UC, including:
- Ensure working people receive targeted in-work financial support if they are disabled or have a health condition.
- Ensure disabled people with a Limited Capability for Work are able to trial part-time work without facing a significant penalty in their benefits.
- Review the removal of the Limited Capability for Work element, worth £29 a week, and the introduction of a personal support package.
- Introduce targeted financial support through a self-care element for disabled people who live alone without an adult carer.