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DWP Response to Universal Credit Investigation

DWP Response to Universal Credit Investigation

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Published by TheBlueGuerilla
DWP Response TBG Universal Credit Investigation
DWP Response TBG Universal Credit Investigation

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Published by: TheBlueGuerilla on Jul 09, 2013
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09/14/2013

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MinisterialCorrespondenceCaxton HouseTothill StreetLONDONSW1H 9DA
www.dwp.gov.ukministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
Our Ref:
TO/13/19581
9 July 2013
www.theblueguerilla.co.uk
Dear Mr BrookingThank you for your recent correspondence, raising issues about UniversalCredit which are the responsibility of this Department. Government Ministersreceive a large volume of correspondence and they are unable to replypersonally on every occasion. I have been asked to respond.Universal Credit provides support to claimants who are ‘in work’ as well as tothose who are ‘out of work’. So the need to claim different benefits whenworking 16 hours or more disappears. This reduces the risks associated withmoves to employment that exist in the current system of benefits and taxcredits.Universal Credit allows people who work to keep some of the money that theyearn before it has any impact on the amount of Universal Credit they receive.This amount is called a Work Allowance. In Universal Credit different workallowances apply to different types of household in order to reflect their different needs. The work allowances are generally more generous than theamounts disregarded in the current system, in particular for families withchildren and disabled people.Once a person is earning more than their work allowance, we begin reducingthe amount of their Universal Credit. Universal Credit has a single taper rate of 65 per cent. We want people to see their income increase when they startworking or earn more, so we reduce the Universal Credit award by less thanthey are earning. Although their Universal Credit award reduces, their incomewill still increase.For people who are working, financial support is reduced at a consistent andpredictable rate and they generally keep a higher proportion of their earnings.
 
It will be much easier for people who are working or who are considering a jobto see clearly how much financial support they will receive and to understandthe advantages of work.Universal Credit will significantly improve the take-up of unclaimedentitlements, because all elements of support are applied for through a singleprocess. It will be easier for people to understand the level of benefit to whichthey are entitled. About claiming, Universal Credit provides a real opportunity to tackle digitalexclusion. Research suggests that 92 per cent of advertised vacancies requireapplicants to have basic IT skills, and therefore those without such skills areconsiderably limited in their employment prospects. Furthermore, we want togive claimants greater control over managing their account. To achieve this,the main route to access Universal Credit is through digital channels. This willfree up more adviser time to deliver valuable face-to-face support for thosewho need it and help to get people into work.This does not, however, mean that the Government are removing other channels for claiming benefits. As noted in Government’s statement onassisted digital services in December 2012, people continue to be supportedin interacting with the Government even if they are unable to access servicesonline. We offer claimants the option to claim via telephone or in person,which includes the provision of assisted or one-to-one support.We are installing Internet Access Devices (IADs) in our Jobcentres to helpsupport those who do not have home access to the internet. At present, 706sites have had IADs installed. In total this will provide 2167 new IADs for our customers. Jobcentre staff are available to provide claimants with anyassistance required in using these devices. We are also exploring the idea of providing WiFi access in Jobcentres, as well as having tablets and laptopsavailable for claimant use.Our target is that 50 per cent of claims that can be online will be made online,in October 2013 when Universal Credit is launched nationally. In addition tothat, we initially envisage around 45 per cent of claims to be made viatelephone, and 5 per cent face-to-face, with a home visit where necessary.The Government believes this target is achievable as a survey of existingbenefits and tax credit recipients found that 78 per cent already use theinternet and, of these, 41 per cent carry out online banking, a transactionconsidered similar to claiming Universal Credit. Indeed, our latest figures showthat more than 51 per cent of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claims received bythe Department are now made online. We expect the proportion of onlineclaims to build up as people are supported to use the new system and as wegradually build up the functions and applications that people can accessonline.

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